IN IT TO WIN IT

CityPress - - Sport - PHOTO: ABBEY SEBETHA / BAKONEPIX

Bloem­fontein Celtic’s Tshepo Rikhotso fights for the ball with Plat­inum Stars’ Gift Sit­hole dur­ing their Telkom Knock­out match at Royal Bafo­keng Sta­dium in Rusten­burg yes­ter­day

Bloem­fontein Celtic are on a roll! The team con­tin­ued with their rich vein of form when they elim­i­nated Plat­inum Stars from the Telkom Knock­out last 16 fol­low­ing a come-from-be­hind 2-1 vic­tory at Royal Bafo­keng Sta­dium in Rusten­burg yes­ter­day.

The Free State out­fit re­cov­ered from a poor first half show­ing to score two goals and book a semi­fi­nal spot at the ex­pense of shell­shocked Dik­wena.

A bril­liant free kick by Lantshene Pha­lane 13 min­utes into the sec­ond half and a tap-in by Tshe­go­fatso Mabaso nine min­utes from time can­celled out Bonginkosi Ntuli’s first-half opener.

It was a game of two halves as Dik­wena dom­i­nated the first, while Celtic were on top of their game in the sec­ond stanza.

Celtic are fourth on the log with 15 points – just two points be­hind the log lead­ers from nine matches.

The Free State-based out­fit are also hav­ing a good cup run as they made it to the semi-fi­nals of the knock­out.

Celtic de­feated Su­perS­port United on penal­ties af­ter their game ended 2-2 af­ter ex­tra time last week­end. Dik­wena also had to rely on the lot­tery of penal­ties against Mar­itzburg United af­ter their con­test ended in a goal­less draw af­ter 120 min­utes of ex­tra time in the last-16 round.

How­ever, penal­ties were not needed by Celtic to ad­vance into the last-four stage this time as they did the job in 90 min­utes.

It was the home team that started brightly in hot weather in North West. Dik­wena threat­ened to find the back of the net and kept Cameroon vet­eran goal­keeper Pa­trick Tignyemb in the Celtic goal busy.

Katlego Ot­ladisa was de­nied by the ex­pe­ri­enced Celtic shot-stop­per as Dik­wena en­joyed the ma­jor­ity of ball pos­ses­sion.

The ref­eree stopped the game for a wa­ter break for play­ers to cool off af­ter 23 min­utes.

Dik­wena went into this en­counter af­ter a morale-boost­ing 1-0 win over Ajax Cape Town in the Pre­mier­ship at the same venue in the mid­dle of the week.

Dik­wena skip­per Vuyo Mere, who scored the win­ning goal against the Cape-based out­fit, had a great game in the first 45 min­utes, tak­ing ad­van­tage of a few long-range op­por­tu­ni­ties.

Stars were even­tu­ally re­warded on the half-hour mark when Ntuli lobbed the ball over Tignyemb to break the dead­lock.

Dik­wena were full value for their lead go­ing into the half-time break.

Celtic’s Ndu­miso Mabena, who was play­ing against his for­mer club, was iso­lated upfront and had a frus­trat­ing first half.

But Celtic were a much im­proved team in the sec­ond half as they took con­trol of the game, scor­ing two goals to turn the game on its head.

PHOTO: ABBEY SEBETHA / BAKONEPIX

RISE Celtic’s Ndu­miso Mabena and Dik­wena’s Gift Sit­hole

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