Anthony Laffor struck in the 70th minute to hand Mamelodi Sundowns a 1-0 win over Bloemfontein Celtic at the Seisa Ramabodu Stadium.
undowns made their intentions clear right from the onset, with Wayne Arendse’s header forcing Patrick Tignyemb into a superb save inside the first five minutes.
However, Tignyemb nearly gifted the visitors the lead after seven minutes when he dropped a routine catch, however Leonardo Castro fired his effort wide of the target.
It proved to be a busy opening 15 minutes for Tignyemb, as the Celtic shot-stopper pulled off another fine stop to keep out Khama Billiat’s effort from 25-yards out.
Celtic started seeing more of the ball after the 30-minute mark, as the likes of Musa Nyatama and Keagan Buchanan got more involved.
Billiat proved to be a nuisance for the Celtic defence, but his wasted a chance in the 38th minute, as he did well to beat his marker before firing horribly over the crossbar from close range.
Tignyemb came to Celtic’s rescue just before the halftime break, as the goalkeeper pulled off a superb one-handed save to keep out Keagan Dolly’s effort from 20-yards out.
Pitso Mosimane’s men squandered another chance shortly after the break when Dolly picked out Billiat in the box, but the Zimbabwean fired well over.
Castro nearly marked his full Sundowns debut with a goal in the 51st minute but the Colombian headed over from close range, after being picked out by Dolly.
Celtic were presented with an opening in the 63rd minute when Thapelo Morena pounced on a poor clearance from Denis Onyango to tee up Helder Pelembe, who dragged his effort wide of the mark.
Sundowns went agonisingly close to breaking the deadlock in the 67th minute as Thabo Nthethe rose well to meet Hlompho Kekana’s cross but his header crashed onto the upright.
However, the visitors took the lead three minutes later when Anthony Laffor fired home a low effort from 12-yards out, after his initial effort had been saved.
Sundowns had Onyango to thank in the 85th minute, as the shot-stopper pulled off a stunning save to deny Lamola at the far post.
Mosimane’s men managed to see off a late surge from a resilient Celtic to claim the three points.
Here’s how they lined up:
Bloemfontein Celtic: Tignyemb, Fransman, Phalane, Dube, Bilankulu, Mogapi, Buchanan, Mhango, Ndengane, Lamola, Nyatama
Mamelodi Sundowns: Onyango, Arendse, Langerman, Nthethe, Mphahlele, Dolly, T.Zwane, Zungu, Kekana, Castro, Billiat