Sundowns hopes of invincibility dashed, Pirates qualify for Champs League and Chiefs miss out on top eight

25 May 2024 - 17:17
Mamelodi Sundowns coach Rulani Mokwena celebrates after they were handed the DStv Premiership trophy at Loftus Stadium in Pretoria.
Image: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix Mamelodi Sundowns coach Rulani Mokwena celebrates after they were handed the DStv Premiership trophy at Loftus Stadium in Pretoria.

Invincibility and immortality beckoned but sometimes sport has a tendency of spoiling a romantic story. 

The Brazilians lost 1-0 Cape Town City at Loftus on Saturday as their Premier Soccer League championship coronation was spoilt and their ambitions of achieving the unprecedented feat of going the season unbeaten dashed. 

Sundowns came into this match needing a draw for immortality but a schoolboy error by defender Mothobi Mvala on the hour mark allowed Jaeden Rhodes to steal the ball and beat Ronwen Williams. 

Though there was the huge disappointment of having missed out on the opportunity of invincibility, Sundowns were finally handed their trophy as they won the league with six matches to spare. 

As Sundowns celebrated with their championship trophy for the seventh successive campaign, there were other twists and turns elsewhere on what turned out to be a dramatic final day of the season. 

Orlando Pirates finished second with a 1-1 draw with SuperSport United at Orlando Stadium to qualify for the Champions League next season where their depth is going to be tested. 

Stellenbosch lost 2-1 to Richards Bay but they will end the season in third spot and a place in the Confederation Cup which gives the club their first taste of continental football next season. 

In other news, Kaizer Chiefs missed out on a spot in the top eight for the third time in the last 20 years as they lost 2-0 to already relegated Cape Town Spurs to end their campaign in tenth spot. 

Amakhosi struggled for consistency this season under coach Molefi Ntseki, who was later replaced by Cavin Johnson, and this means the management have a lot to ponder during the off-season. 

Chiefs management must find a coach, new players and come up with a new structure of how they are going to take this club out of the hole that they find themselves in, with their campaign ending in utter embarrassment. 

Focus on Saturday afternoon was also on the bottom of the table where Richards Bay were dragged to the promotion and relegation play-offs despite their 2-1 win over Stellenbosch. 

Richards Bay, who finished second from the bottom, will join National First Divion (NFD) sides Baroka and University of Pretoria (Tuks) during the play-offs to decide who will be joining Magesi in the PSL. 

Sundowns coach Rulani Mokwena made five changes to the team that drew 1-1 with TS Galaxy midweek with Bongani Zungu in for Sphelele Mkhulise and captain Themba Zwane recalled for Marcelo Allende. 

Elsewhere, Lebogang Maboe, Thapelo Morena and Siyabonga Mabena came in for Sipho Mbule, Peter Shalulile and Lesiba Nku as he rested some of the key players like Teboho Mokoena, Lucas Ribeiro and Allende. 

City coach Eric Tinkler went with his tried and test players like Darren Keet, Lorenzo Gordinho, Darwin Gonzalez, Khanya Leshabela, Khanyisa Mayo and Rhodes and they did the job as they finish the season in fifth spot. 

This game was settled on the hour mark when Rhodes silenced the Loftus crowd after he benefited from a mistake from Mvala to score the goal that denied Sundowns a place in the history books.