Bloemfontein Celtic overcame Orlando Pirates after a penalty shoot-out at the Free State Stadium on Sunday afternoon and advanced to the semi-finals of the Telkom Knockout.
The Buccaneers looked to continue their dominance over Celtic in cup competitions and seemed destined to do just that after superb strikes from Dane Klate, Oupa Manyisa and Thabo Matlaba.
Lennox Bacela scored a penalty for Celtic and Ruzaigh Gamildien powered in a header in the dying embers of the game. Pirates fans watched in horror as Joe Mogorosi netted a breathtaking acrobatic goal in the final seconds of the 90 minutes.
Penalties decided the outcome of the classic clash with Celtic advancing after winning the shoot-out 5-3.
The early periods of the clash gave both sides the opportunity to size each other up which meant there were not many clear-cut chances being created. However in the 23rd minute a free kick chance outside Celtic’s box changed the outlook of the match.
Dane Klate stepped up and scored what can only be described as a magnificent free kick. His curling left-footed strike was unstoppable and smashed into the top-right corner of Patrick Tignyemb’s net. The accurate and powerful goal put Pirates into the lead and silenced the noisy Celtic home fans.
The Buccaneers continued to create space in the final third and a second goal seemed imminent for the Telkom Knockout defending champions.
The second half began with a controversy as Celtic created an excellent chance with some enterprising play but Limbikani Mzava’s final pass was blocked by Patrick Phungwayo’s hands and body. Celtic players were left stunned when the referee did not give the penalty.
Their dismay was immediately heightened as Oupa Manyisa made a dangerous run, collected a cross on his chest and volleyed a well-placed strike into the net via the inside of the left post. The 49th minute second goal confirmed Pirates’s dominance.
Suddenly the game exploded into life with three goals in five minutes shared between both sides.
Celtic created a chance to bounce back in the 54th minute, as Siyabonga Sangweni fouled Lennox Bacela in the Buccaneers box which was deemed to be a penalty by the referee. Bacela stepped up to score Celtic’s first goal with a comprehensive strike and perhaps a dramatic comeback was in order for the home side.
However thoughts of a revival were seemingly put to bed as Thabo Matlaba powered a sublime strike past a stunned Patrick Tignyemb in the 65th. The swerving and accurate shot was Pirates’ third goal and completed ten minutes of stunning Telkom Knockout football.
But Celtic did not give up with Ruzaigh Gamildien scoring an 88th minute strike, jumping high in the box to meet a cross and score with a powerful header.
Joel Mogorosi left it late for the dramatic equaliser in the 94th minute with a stunning acrobatic goal after a frenzy in the box. His well-timed overhead kick launched wild celebrations in the Free State Stadium and the game was heading for extra time.
The goal fest ended 3-3 at full time and Celtic had all the momentum going into the extra 30 minutes. Their confidence was certainly evident in the first half of extra time as they almost found a winning goal on various occassions, with Lennox Bacela curling in an effort but the striker was deemed offside.
Neither side could find a winner and penalties were on hand. The lottery of the shoot-out began with the reliable Lennox Bacela slotting home.
Andile Jali followed suit with a calm response. 1-1 was the scoreline. Lerato Manzini scored easily for Celtic but Oupa Manyisa's effort was saved by Patrick Tignyemb. Celtic had the advantage and scored their third attempt to gain a 3-1 lead.
With the pressure increasing, Siyabonga Sangweni was able to keep his nerve and keep Pirates in the shoot-out but Joel Mogorosi slotted home Celtic's fourth. Patrick Phungwayo had to score and his left footed strike found the goal. Dominic Isaacs was given the opportunity to send Celtic into the semi-finals.
His powerful strike sent Josephs the wrong way and Celtic won the shoot-out 5 -3. Pirates will not have a chance to regain their Telkom Knockout crown and Celtic fans will talk about their fantastic fightback for years to come.