Highlands edge Celtic

Highlands Park secured a 2-1 victory over Bloemfontein Celtic in an Absa Premiership match at the Dr Molemela Stadium on Monday.

The victory took the Lions of the North to eighth place on the league standings, while Phunya Sele Sele remained seventh on the table.

The Lions of the North were the better side in the opening stages of the game and they nearly scored just five minutes into the game.

Lindokuhle Mbatha found some space outside the Celtic box and he forced goalkeeper Kabelo Dambe into a great finger-tipping save.

The visitors continued to fire warning signs at Phunya Sele Sele as an unmarked Mothobi Mvala missed the target from close range with a header.

The former South Africa under-23 international did make amends when he broke the deadlock a minute after the half-hour mark.

Mvala's header was saved by Dambe and the former scored from the rebound to make it 1-0 to Highlands with the hosts' defence caught ball watching.

Phunya Sele Sele pushed for the equalising goal with the halftime break fast approaching.

Lantshane Phalane found space outside the Highlands box and he unleashed a powerful shot which narrowly missed the target just before halftime.

Highlands were deservedly leading 1-0 at the interval.

Highlands were reduced to 10 men when Phoka Mofokeng was sent off after denying Ndumiso Mabena a goal-scoring opportunity two minutes after the restart.

However, the visitors managed to double their lead two minutes after the hour-mark with the hosts' defence exposed once again.

Peter Shalulile scored with an acrobatic effort from close range to make it 2-0 to Highlands after Dambe and his defence had failed to clear the ball away.

Celtic then pressed the visitors and they were awarded a free-kick in a promising area and Kabelo Dlamini scored from the set-piece to make it 2-1 in the 65th minute.

Highlands coach Owen Da Gama then made a change - pulling out Mbatha and he introduced Ryan Rae as the visitors looked to hold on to their slender lead.

Both teams launched attacks in the latter stages of the game, but they could not score and ultimately, Highlands ran out 2-1 winners on the day.

Bloemfontein Celtic (0) 1 (Dlamini 65')

Highlands Park (1) 2 (Mvala 31', Shalulile 62')

TEAMS:

Bloemfontein Celtic: Dambe, Letlabika, Sam, Rikhotso (Letsoalo 59'), Mabena (Maema 63'), Mashikinya, Masuku (Mangwani 78'), Lingwati, Dlamini, Phalane, Mabasa.

Highlands Park: Kapini, Sibande, Mvala, Mokoena, Msimango, Mofokeng, Motsepe, Mbatha (Rae 72'), Shalulile, Sekola (Versuur 57'), Mbunjana (Mahlangu 60').