Orlando Pirates had their South African Premiership lead reduced to one point today after conceding a late goal to draw 1-1 at Bloemfontein Celtic.

A draw before a sell-out 18,000 crowed at Seisa Ramabodu Stadium was no suprise as fifth-placed Celtic boast an unbeaten home record this season and Pirates have not lost an away game. The visitors came closest to scoring in the opening half when midfielder Andile Jali rattled the crossbar with a drive that left Cameroonian goalkeeper Patrick Tignyemb a helpless bystander.

Luyanda Bacela, who scored a hat-trick in the five-goal rout of outgoing champions SuperSport United last weekend, fired wide from point-blank range just before half-time for fifth-placed Celtic. The deadlock was broken on 72 minutes when a shot from former South Africa striker Katlego Mashego took a deflection off Celtic captain Thabo Nthethe en route to the goal.

Celtic levelled nine minutes later when a Bennett Chenene cross was side-footed past goalkeeper Senzo Meyiwa by Siphelele Mthembu and each are on-loan this season from Pirates.

Ajax defeat bottom Aces
Hot on the heels of the Buccanners with six rounds to go are Ajax Cape Town, who won 2-1 against bottom team Mpumalanga Black Aces. In a thrilling race to earn a place in the 2012 African Champions League, Ajax will host Pirates in the next round on 16 March and a victory for the young Cape Town outfit would take them to the top of the table as they seek a maiden Premiership title.

Guinean teenager Seydouba Soumah put Ajax ahead on 27 minutes at Athlone Stadium, bursting past a motionless Aces defence to steer the ball wide of Ugandan goalkeeper Denis Onyango. Rising star Thulani Serero doubled the lead midway through the second half when he raced on to a pass and unleashed a fierce close-range shot that flew into the net at the near post.

Aces, who appear doomed to automatic relegation as they lie eight points behind second-last Moroka Swallows, grabbed a late consolation goal when defender Gordon Gilbert nodded home a cross.