Cape Town City shrug off signs of rustiness to beat Bloemfontein Celtic at Athlone

08 March 2020 - 17:55 By Mark Gleeson
Thabo Nodada celebrates with his Cape Town City teammates after scoring the opening goal.
Thabo Nodada celebrates with his Cape Town City teammates after scoring the opening goal.
Image: Bertram Malgas/Gallo Images

Cape Town City shrugged off signs of rustiness to take a vital three point haul as they beat Bloemfontein Celtic 2-0 at the Athlone Stadium on Sunday.

It was the first game in three weeks for the struggling Capetonians‚ who have been hovering around the lower reaches of the premiership standings for much of the season.

But once they found their straps‚ they proved emphatic victors with two quality goals that saw them move up two places to 10th position on the log.

With seven games to go‚ they can now set their sights on a top eight place after showing signs of a return to the strong passing game that saw them to a top five finish over the last three seasons.

It was a swift switch of passes on the left-hand side of attack between stand-in skipper Thabo Nodada and Surprise Ralani that saw the former bury the ball into the top of the net with a powerful shot after 22 minutes.

Opportunities followed swiftly after for marauding fullbacks Edmilson and Craig Martin before‚ on the stroke of half-time‚ City put together a series of one touch passes that cut apart the Celtic defence and saw the hosts literally walk the ball into the net‚ with Ralani getting the deserved final touch.

City have an injury crisis upfront with Kermit Erasmus and Siphelele Mthembu both out but did not need a recognised No. 9 as they attacked with pace from the flank and moved the ball proficiently through the midfield.

City still have the second worst defence in the premiership and there were chances for Celtic‚ but Ndumiso Mabena missed a good chance early in the second half and City goalkeeper Peter Leeuwenburgh made a sharp save to keep a rare clean sheet.

Victor Letsoalo set up Mabena for an easy put away with 10 minutes left but when the Celtic captain headed the chance wide with an open goal yawning in front‚ the visitors' misery was compounded.

Abbubaker Mobara came on as a late substitute for City to mark a return after a long-term injury.

It was his first run out since September.

Meanwhile SuperSport United moved up to third on the log with a 2-0 win away at Highlands Park at Makhulong Stadium in Tembisa.

First half goals from utility player Aubrey Modiba and striker Bradley Grobler sunk the Lions of the North to move to 40 after 24 matches.

The three-time champions SuperSport now trail leaders Kaizer Chiefs by eight points having played two matches more than Amakhosi.

Other weekend results:

Friday, March 6 2020:

Maritzburg United 1 - 0 Polokwane City

Saturday, March 7 2020:

Baroka FC 2 - 0 Black Leopards

Lamontville Golden Arrows 0 - 0 Orlando Pirates 

Kaizer Chiefs 0 - 1 AmaZulu

Bidvest Wits 0 - 0 Chippa United 

Sunday, March 8 2020:

Highlands Park 0 - 2 SuperSport United

Cape Town City 2 - 0 Bloemfontein Celtic