Bloemfontein Celtic, Chippa United cement top-eight spots
Bloemfontein Celtic and Chippa United collected wins on Sunday to cement their places in the South African Premier Soccer League top eight, but for the vanquished teams, their poor runs continue.
Celtic claimed a 2-1 victory over Lamontville Golden Arrows, who have now gone 12 games without a win, adding to the pressure on coach Clinton Larsen.
Celtic lead in the first half after Golden Arrows goalkeeper Nkosi Gumede spilled a cross into the path of Victor Letsoalo for his fourth goal in as many games.
The home side made it 2-0 just before the break when ex-Golden Arrows winger Deon Hotto punished his former employers, drilling the ball in from a tight angle.
Celtic were in complete control of the game at that point, but were left with a nervy final 20 minutes when substitute Thomas Chideu reacted to a rebound off the crossbar to net his second goal of the season.
The home side had the better of the chances in the remainder of the game though and it is a good three points for coach Veselin Jelusic as the club claimed a second victory in their last seven matches.
Celtic handed a debut to defender Lorenzo Gordinho, who is on loan from Kaizer Chiefs, while Golden Arrows gave a bow to new signing Danny Venter, previously with Celtic and Free State Stars, off the bench.
Chippa United produced a comfortable 2-0 victory at struggling AmaZulu, who now sit ominously two points above the relegation play-off position after a run of seven matches without a win.
Debutant Onassis Mntambo opened the scoring in the second half, continuing his fine form he showed with second-tier Jomo Cosmos in the months building up to the festive season break.
Abel Mabaso added a second to seal a deserved three points for Chippa, who also handed debuts to former Orlando Pirates winger Thabo Rakhale and another signing from Cosmos, Mxolisi Macuphu.
Celtic move up to 23 points, five behind leaders Mamelodi Sundowns having played the same number of games, while Chippa are a point further back and have played a game more.