Former flames midfielder, John Maduka, on Saturday won his first ever semi-final of the Ned Bank Cup as coach for Bloemfontein Celtic.
This was a return of football in South Africa after months of lockdown and Bloemfontein Celtic were up against Baroka Football Club in an empty Orlando Stadium in Soweto.
Baroka FC had Malawi’s Gerald Phiri Junior playing as a central mid-fielder in their starting eleven with another Malawian Richard Mbulu on the bench. Phiri was pulled out at half time.
Celtic looked in control of things from the start as they enjoyed a lion’s share of possession and attacked more than their opponents.
Both sets of players, however, had fitness problems following the long break and lack of strength testing matches before resumption of the football season.
Gerbarot for Baroka FC was red carded in the 32nd when he landed his right foot awkwardly on Lucky Baloyi’s ankle.
Five minutes were added at the end of the first half and it was Nduwiso Mabena who opened the score sheet for John Maduka’s side in the 49th minute before trotting back to the dressing room for recess.
Richard Mbulu was introduced into the game in the 72nd minute for Baroka FC.
Celtic continued enjoying possession with Baroka a man down and a goal down. Fikizolo’s shot in the 81st minute was fumbled by goalkeeper Chipezeze and as Nduwiso Mabena raced for the rebound, Chipezeze caught his feet, forcing the referee to award Celtic a penalty. Victor Letswalo scored Celtic’s second goal from the penalty spot.
Letswalo was on target again three minutes in added time when he scored Celtic’s third and final goal of the match.
Speaking on Supersport after the 3 nil victory, Bloemfontein Celtic Head Coach, John Maduka, praised his charges for the job well done.
“We tried to keep the ball, invited them into our half and the boys knew when to penetrate and it worked for us. It wasn’t easy because the boys haven’t been playing for a long time,” he said.
The losing coach, Dylan Kerr, admitted that the sending off of Gerbarot affected his game plan.
“The game plan was to keep the ball moving because we knew they are a counterattacking team but the sending off disturbed us. My players never gave up, they kept trying but we didn’t manage to keep the ball away,” remarked Kerr.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :