Phunya Sele Sele claimed the three points and climbed to 14th on the log thanks to a strike early in the second half from veteran forward Ndumiso Mabena. Lidoda Duvha, meanwhile, suffered a fourth defeat from five league outings and have only Maritzburg United (who now have a game in hand) below them on the standings.
Both teams looked to play attacking football, though it was Celtic who put together the better passing patterns in the opening half hour, notably creating chances for Mabena and Tebogo Potsane – both shot straight into the arms of Leopards goalkeeper King Ndlovu.
Lidoda Duvha’s threat was a sporadic one, as they struggled to bring Rodney Ramagalela and Lifa Hlongwane into the action on a regular basis. The latter had a couple of pot shots from long range, but didn’t trouble Jackson Mabokgwane between the Celtic posts.
Phunya Sele Sele looked to come on strong as the first half neared its end, and on the cusp of the interval they should have claimed the lead when Mabena played a great pass over the top of the defence to tee up Potsane, but he blazed a shot over with only the goalkeeper to beat.
Celtic picked up in the second stanza where they left off in the first and a goal duly arrived in the 54th minute: Potsane provided a perfect cutback from the by-line down the left of the penalty area to find Mabena, who had an easy task to steer a shot home from close range and make it 1-0.
The team in white and green should have doubled their advantage midway through the second half when Mabena did brilliantly to slip Victor Letsoalo in on goal, but the striker struck wide of the near post with Ndlovu advancing on him.
Leopards threw on attacking options to try and get themselves back in the game, and one very nearly did the trick on 85 minutes, with Themba Ndlovu latching onto a loose ball and firing an effort on target, but Mabokgwane got down well to make the save.
At the other end, four minutes later, it was Ndlovu’s turn to make a sharp save, turning away Mabena’s snap shot from the edge of the box. However, the ‘keeper’s efforts were in vain, as Leopards were unable to find a way back into the match.
Celtic will be in continental action this weekend when they travel to the DR Congo to face AS Maniema Union in the CAF Confederation Cup, before returning to DStv Premiership action on December 9 with a clash at SuperSport United. Leopards will be back in league action on December 8 away to Kaizer Chiefs.
Bloemfontein Celtic (0) 1 (Mabena 54’)
Black Leopards 0
Celtic: Mabokgwane, Ngobeni, Mahashe, Baloyi, Pfumbidzai, Masuku (Maema 87’), De Jongh (Phalane 81’), Luthuli, Potsane (Mangweni 71’), Mabena, Letsoalo (Mashikinya 81’)
Leopards: K. Ndlovu, Sampson (W. Maluleke 69’), Gyimah, Douhadji, Zulu, Thutlwa (Makobela 46’), Abubakar (Makgetlwa 78’), Mthethwa, Ononogbu (Andrianarimanana 69’), Hlongwane (T. Ndlovu 78’), Ramagalela. Psl.co.za