Pretoria: SuperSport United continued their great form in the DStv Premiership by defeating Bloemfontein Celtic 2-1 at the Lucas Moripe Stadium on Wednesday evening.
Goals from strike partners Thamsanqa Gabuza and Bradley Grobler saw Matsatsantsa claim a fifth win from their last six league outings and go level in second place with Swallows FC.
United are now just two points adrift of leaders Mamelodi Sundowns ahead of facing them in a crunch Tshwane derby this weekend. Phunya Sele Sele remain 11th after a fifth defeat of the season.
SuperSport started with energy and determination, claiming the lead just 13 minutes from the first whistle when Gabuza scored from close range thanks to an excellent corner kick delivery by Sipho Mbule which caused all kinds of trouble for the Celtic defence.
Yet the Bloemfontein team recovered well from the early setback and won a penalty in the 20th minute, with Ndumiso Mabena tripped by Grant Kekana. Victor Letsoalo converted from the spot to make it 1-1 midway through the first half.
Phunya Sele Sele went on to create a slew of chances in the minutes after their equaliser, though United goalkeeper Ronwen Williams made excellent saves to deny the likes of Siphelele Luthuli and Andile Fikizolo.
Matsatsantsa, however, had the last laugh in the first half, with Grobler continuing his great goal-scoring form this season when he netted three minutes into injury time to see the hosts lead 2-1 at the interval.
The striker headed home from another corner, netting his 58th goal in United colours across all competitions to become the all-time leading scorer for the Tshwane club.
SuperSport picked up in the second half where they left off in the first, dominating the ball and creating further chances for Ghampani Lungu and Gabuza in the opening minutes after the restart, though neither was able to capitalise.
Celtic looked to get back on level terms for a second time, though Lantshene Phalane saw his fine effort direct from a free kick turned away by Williams in the 69th minute, keeping United in charge of proceedings.
The Bloemfontein team also introduced Harris Tchilimbou off the bench in an attempt to get back into the game and their substitution nearly paid dividends in the 82nd minute when the attacker volleyed an effort over the target.
Ultimately SuperSport were able to hold out for all three points and further underline as their status as one of the teams to watch this season.
The clubs will return to DStv Premiership action this coming weekend, with SuperSport facing Tshwane rivals Mamelodi Sundowns on Saturday 16 January and Celtic hosting Stellenbosch FC the same day.
SuperSport United (2) 2 (Gabuza 13’, Grobler 45+3’)
Bloemfontein Celtic (1) 1 (Letsoalo 22’ pen)
SuperSport: Williams, Nhlapo, Kekana, Fleurs, Ditlhokwe, Webber (Waiswa 79’), Mbule (Khumalo 84’), Mokoena, Lungu, Grobler, Gabuza
Celtic: Mabokgwane, Lingwati, Chabalala, Mahashe, Pfumbidzai (Potsane 79’), Fikizolo (Ncobeni 90’), Mashikinya (Tchilimbou 79’), Phalane, Luthuli, Mabena (Njoti 81’), Letsoalo. Psl.co.za