All of Saturday's remaining TKO action: Bloem Celtic eliminate SuperSport, Wits and Polokwane City advance

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Gallo
The Students, Rise and Shine and Phunya Sele Sele advanced into the next round of the Telkom Knockout Cup on Saturday night

The 2017/18 Telkom Knockout Cup tournament resumed on Saturday with several mouth-watering encounters on offer.

In the day’s earlier kick-off, Ajax Cape Town were eliminated by Polokwane City on penalties after neither side could be separated with 120 minutes of football played.

While it was the Urban Warriors who enjoyed the better of the chances, testing City goalkeeper George Chigova on a number of occasions, Rise and Shine remained resolute, opting to play off the counter attack. The tactic eventually paid off for the home side as they forced the encounter into penalties where they edged out the Capetonians 4-3 on penalties. 

Meanwhile, at the Dr Petrus Molemela Stadium, the ‘Cup Kings’ of South African football, SuperSport United were taken all the way by a spirited Bloemfontein Celtic side in a thrilling encounter. Siwelele came back from two goals down to knock last season’s losing finalist out on penalties.

Sipho Jembula had a glorious chance to break the deadlock in the 25th minute, but his header flew wide of Reyaad Pieterse’s goal. Aubrey Modiba eventually broke the deadlock just after the half-hour mark. Celtic’s defence had stagnated as they waited for an offside call which was not forthcoming and the wing-back pounced as he poked a fantastic cross home from close range.  

The second half saw SuperSport continue to assume the ascendency, and with just over 50 minutes played, Jeremy Brockie doubled their advantage. The New Zealand international expertly finished off a superb counter-attacking move which silenced the Celtic fans out in the stands.

But SuperSport were guilty of complacency and allowed Celtic back into the encounter when Teboho Mokoena was adjudged to have handled the ball inside the box. Mbhazima Rikhotso stepped up and made no mistake from the penalty spot, making for a nervy last 12 minutes for Matsatsantsa.

Minutes later, Celtic would complete their comeback through Jacky Motshegwa. The 29-year-old tapped his effort home past a despairing Reyaad Pieterse. The goal ensured that Celtic would survive for at least another 30 minutes as extra time was needed after the full-time whistle had gone with the scoreline deadlocked at two goals apiece.

Extra time was a battle of attrition, but Modiba had a chance early on in extra time, only for his shot to saved by Patrick Tignyemb. Celtic’s woes would continue as they were reduced to 10 men after Robert Nyundu was given his marching orders for a second bookable offence.   

However, despite the numerical advantage, Celtic would fight valiantly, showing grit and determination as the clash went into penalties where Tignyemb was the hero on the night. Celtic won the match 5-4 on penalties.

Lastly, Bidvest Wits faced off against their bogey side Free State Stars in Johannesburg. Once again, the Bethlehem-based outfit made the Clever Boys sweat as Thabo Maphakisa cancelled out Bongani Khumalo’s 20th minute header.

Nevertheless, Wits restored their lead just before the half-time break, as Amr Gamal beat Stars’ keeper Badra Ali Sangare from the penalty spot. Gamal was a constant thorn throughout the second half as his pace and power proved too much to handle for Stars, particularly from set pieces. The Egyptian came within a whisker of doubling Wits’ and his tally with just 20 minutes remaining when the striker came agonisingly close to latching onto a superb cross by Daine Klate.

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Although, Wits were the dominant side, Ea Lla Koto once again came from behind to level matters as Siphelele Mthembu equalised from the penalty spot. Try as the Students did, they could not restore their lead, and needed extra time to decide matters.

In the first half of extra time, it was the dangerman Gamal, who came up with the breakthrough. The 26-year-old showed great strength and composure as he brushed off a Stars defender and calmly placed his effort beyond Sangare.

Before the end, Wits’ striker James Keene came up with the decisive goal as the defending PSL champions joined the likes of Celtic, Kaizer Chiefs, Polokwane City and Orlando Pirates among others in the next round.

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