A dominant Orlando Pirates could not take their chances and succumbed to a 1 - 0 defeat against a brave Bloemfontein Celtic side
Pirates dominated proceedings but did not take their chances and Celtic's Lennox Bacela was able to score a goal out of nowhere in the 78th minute.
Bloemfontein Celtic, still reeling from their midweek defeat against Chippa United, would have wanted to regain some form in front of a capacity crowd at their home stadium.
Roger De Sa's appointment has lead to a recovery from a Pirates side which now has confidence and sharpness in defence and attack. They started with experienced captain Lucky Lekgwati in the defensive line-up.
Pirates were hoping to defeat Celtic at home for the first time in four seasons in order to keep pace with their rival Kaizer Chiefs.
Played on a bumpy and dilipidated pitch affected by the Free State Cheetah's ABSA Currie Cup matches at the stadium, the game's first half was dominated by Orlando Pirates.
Both sides looked confident in the opening passages of play, with shots coming in from Celtic's Ruzaigh Gamildien and Pirates midfielder Tlou Segolela.
Celtic looked dangerous with Bacela finding space inside the box on numerous occasions and Gamildien threatening with his pace. Pirates responded by trying to control possession, but the conditions of the pitch made this tactic difficult.
A curving shot by Pirates midfielder Andile Jali in the 17th minute was saved by impressive Nigerian goalkeeper Patrick Tignyemb, who dived to his left and tipped the ball around the post.
Tingyemb was called upon again in the 19th minute blocking a shot by Oupa Manyisi who had found himself in space at the near post. Pirates were beginning to gain control with creative play in the midfield by Onyekachi Okonkwo, who looked imperious in possession.
Increased pressure lead to a rough tackle by Celtic midfielder Letladi Madubanya which resulted in a yellow card for the player who has often been described as being as hard as nails.
Pirates dominance lead to a period of excellent chances, the best coming from a powerful Letladi Madubanya shot which slammed into the crossbar.
Celtic looked desperate in defence, relying on clearances, last ditch tackles and blocks. They could not find a way to get back into the game and create sustained periods of possession.
It seemed inevitable that the Buccaneers would find the opener in the first half. However they could not convert their chances and the game went into the break deadlocked.
Celtic would have welcomed the half-time break, after chasing shadows for the majority of the opening stanza. They started the second half in the same manner as they ended the first however, with Pirates still ruling possession and creating chances.
The passionate Bloemfontein fans began to raise the volume trying to bring about a change in confidence for their side which was struggling to find any kind of control. The raise in support seemed to be working, as Celtic began to put together a few good passages of play.
A superb through-ball gave Celtic's Manzini space but he could not beat Moeneeb Joseph in the 65th minute. This was the best opportunity of the match for Celtic so far.
This lead to flurry of chances as the game came alive, with Pirates substitute Collins Mbesuma coming close from on two occassions, both of his shots going wide. Thulasizwe Mbuyane also missed the goal by inches, Pirates waking up after almost conceding.
A goal against the run of play punished Pirates in the 78th, as a good cross from Joel Mogorosi was slotted home by Lennox Bacela who powered his finish into the top-left corner of the goal, sending the home fans into raptures and Celtic into a shock 1 - 0 lead.
A late chance was denied once again by Celtic goalkeeper Tingyemb, who provided an instinctive save in the 92nd minute.
Pirates lack of goalscoring this season has come back to haunt them and Roger De Sa would have been left frustrated after his team could not take advantage of numerous opportunities. They are left six point behind log leaders Kaizer Chiefs
Bloemfontein Celtic would have been bouyed by their fighting quality and character under pressure.