Knowledge Musona scored two minutes into injury time to spare Kaizer Chiefs a defeat on Wednesday evening, as the title-chasing Soweto giants played to a thrilling 2-2 draw against Bloemfontein Celtic at the Seisa Ramabodu Stadium.
The Amakhosi could have gone to the top of the log had they won the rescheduled match, but after early goals from Moses Spandeel and Lennox Bacela had put Phunya Sele Sele well in charge, Vladimir Vermezovic will probably be satisfied to have escaped with a share of the points.
A sodden pitch at the venue should have made for a slow-paced game, but the action was fast and furious almost throughout and the players deserve great credit for producing a highly entertaining game of football.
Celtic kept the same XI that would have started on Sunday – when the game was originally scheduled to take place before being rained off – while Chiefs made one change: replacing the ‘flu-hit Mthokozisi Yende with Steven Ncanana in central midfield.
The home team started like a house on fire and blazed their way to a two-goal lead inside the first 15 minutes.
Moses Spandeel got Celtic started, scoring the opening goal in the fourth minute. The veteran attacker latched onto a square pass from Prince Olomu and forced the ball home from close range, after initially scuffing his shot.
The early goal sparked Celtic’s confidence and they were soon causing Chiefs all kinds of problems, particularly the centre-back partnership of Valery Nahayo and Thomas Sweswe, who looked all at sea.
The visitors’ defence seemed to have gone AWOL again in the 14th minute when Olomu sent Lennox Bacela clean through on goal. The former Santos striker showed fine composure to beat Itumeleng Khune with a low shot and put Phunya Sele Sele 2-0 up.
Chiefs very nearly came up with an immediate reply, but goalkeeper Patrick Tignyemb made a superb reaction save to turn Mandla Masango’s effort away for a corner kick. The winger looked destined to score after touching Punch Masenamela’s cross toward goal.
Celtic continued to dominate and Bacela should have made it 3-0 ten minutes before the break but he was unable to get a shot away and Nahayo recovered to make a desperate last-ditch tackle.
Chiefs pulled a goal back very much against the run of play in the 39th minute. Knowledge Musona teed up Ncanana and the midfielder fired a superb low shot into the bottom corner of the net from all of 25 metres out.
The goal was the perfect reply from Ncanana, who was the subject of abuse from Chiefs fans who wanted him substituted in the minutes leading up to his goal.
The visitors very nearly leveled the game in the 42nd minute, as Tignyemb fumbled a cross and Abia Nale very nearly scored from close range, but the ‘keeper somehow hacked the ball clear of the danger zone.
The second half was dominated by Kaizer Chiefs but they struggled to create scoring opportunities against a Celtic defence that was superbly marshaled by Gary Goldstone.
The visitors’ finally created a chance on 83 minutes when Musona was handed a shooting chanced from the edge of the box, but Tignyemb made an excellent reaction save to keep his side ahead.
Celtic seemed destined to clinch all three points but two minutes into additional time a diagonal ball from the left was headed down by substitute Lucky Khune, Musona controlled the ball on his chest and fired a volley into the back of the net to make it 2-2.
The late goal was heartbreaking for Phunya Sele Sele players and fans, but the Amakhosi probably deserved a share of the spoils on the balance of play.-Backpagepix