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Reports & Previews

Celtic's Mabena punishes wasteful Chippa United

Ndumiso Mabena bagged the match-winner as Bloemfontein Celtic started the year with a 1-0 victory over Chippa United at Sisa Dukashe Stadium.

Kicking off the year's first round of action since the festive break, Chippa failed to make their first-half chances count as Celtic rebounded in the second half and claimed the lead through Mabena's well taken goal on 58 minutes. And, Chippa failed to recover from that setback, as Celtic saw out the remaining half hour to claim all three points and end their five-game winless streak.

The first half was an action-packed affair, with Chippa creating plenty of opportunities to score, but a lack of cutting edge on front of goals meant the half would end goalless.

The hosts came flying out of the starting blocks and created two good chances in the opening ten minutes, Rhulani Manzini sending a driven effort wide of the left post before Tebogo Makobela failed to find the mark in the seventh minute.

The visitors eventually lodged their first noteworthy shot on goal in the 17th minute but it came to nothing, as Kabelo Dlamini fired his left-footed shot high and wide to the left.

Chippa were quick to reassert their grip on the contest, however, as Manzini, Tercious Malepe and Andile Mbenyane all squandered multiple chances.

After surviving a sustained period pressure unscathed, Celtic eventually lodge a shot on goal in the 40th minute but Chippa keeper Daniel Akpeyi was equal to the task, saving high and to his right to keep out Lucky Baloyi's goal-bound effort.

Manzini and Mbenyane again went close to breaking the deadlock on separate occasions, but Siwelele were able to see out the remaining minutes with their clean sheet intact.

Chippa picked up where the left off after the break, with chances for Thamsanqa Sangweni and Tebogo Makobela but they both fired wide of the target to let Celtic off the hook once again.

Celtic grew in confidence as the half wore on, and gave the hosts a warning in the 57th minute, when substitute Neo Maema smashed a powerful effort over the bar.

And, they would go on to claim the lead just one minute later, as Mabena raced onto a lovely pass over the top before firing a looping shot over the onrushing keeper and into the back of the net.

The goal sparked a quick response from Chippa and they should have drawn level just two minutes later, but Mbenyane saw his header skim wide of the left-hand upright.

However, that was the last time the hosts would manage a shot on target, as Celtic comfortably saw out the remainder of the contest.

In fact, Siwelele created several chances to extend their lead, with Dlamini and Baloyi forcing saves from Akpeyi before Menzi Masuku dragged his low shot wide to the left post.

Friday's result sees Bloemfontein Celtic move up to third place in the Premiership standings ahead of the weekend's fixtures, while Chippa United remain second from bottom on 12 points.