Komphela's Bloem Celtic sink Orlando Pirates

Bloemfontein Celtic (Supplied)
Bloemfontein Celtic (Supplied)

Johannesburg - Cash-strapped Bloemfontein Celtic humbled famed Orlando Pirates 1-0 Sunday to share first place in the Absa Premiership.

Bongani Sam scored the match-winner on 17 minutes before a huge, singing crowd in Bloemfontein that Celtic use for high-profile fixtures.

When Celtic headed a corner against the Pirates woodwork, the loose ball fell to Sam, who scored with a spectacular aerial kick.

It was the third straight win since the season started for Celtic, who trail 2016/2017 champions Wits on goals scored at the top of the table with each club having nine points.

Pirates, one of the pre-season title favourites, lost for the second time in five days and lie ninth with just four points from four matches.

Celtic are up for sale after club owner Max Tshabalala admitted he could no longer afford to run the club and is hoping a deal will be finalised by the end of August.

Late payment of salaries led to the squad boycotting some pre-season training, but threats of a strike did not materialise.

Coach Steve Komphela, who quit Kaizer Chiefs last season after supporters thrashed a Durban stadium following a cup semi-final defeat, hailed his young Celtic team.

"They came under a lot of pressure and defended magnificently. It is a pleasure working with these boys," said the former Bafana captain and centre-back.

"When Pirates could not break us by going down the middle, they went wide and we adapted to this by changing to a five-man defence."

Former African champions Pirates have scored only twice in 360 minutes this season - a penalty and an own-goal - and wasted many chances against Celtic.

"We tried everything but could not find a way through," conceded Serb coach Milutin 'Micho' Sredojevic. "Our attacks were too slow and predictable."

Wits surrendered a 100% record when falling 1-0 at home to SuperSport United Saturday with Zimbabwean Evans Rusike scoring the 72nd-minute match-winner.

Rusike displayed a penalty-box sharpness often lacking in South African football to drill a loose ball past goalkeeper Darren Keet.

SuperSport are fourth, behind AmaZulu on goal difference, as they seek to atone for a disappointing 2017/2018 league season.

AmaZulu snatched a late 2-1 home win over Free State Stars Sunday through a Mhlengi Cele goal and Argentine Emiliano Tade was their other scorer in Indian Ocean port city Durban.

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