Polokwane City relegated‚ Leopards in playoffs‚ Baroka escape by dashing Kaizer Chiefs' title hopes

05 September 2020 - 18:35 By Sazi Hadebe
Senzo Buthelezi of Polokwane City challenged by Keenan Phillips of Bidvest Wits during the Absa Premiership match between Bidvest Wits and Polokwane City at FNB Stadium on September 05, 2020 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Senzo Buthelezi of Polokwane City challenged by Keenan Phillips of Bidvest Wits during the Absa Premiership match between Bidvest Wits and Polokwane City at FNB Stadium on September 05, 2020 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Image: Gavin Barker/Gallo Images/BackpagePix

Polokwane City’s seven-year stint in the top-flight of South African football ended on the last day of the 2019-20 Absa Premiership season after they were relegated following their 2-1 defeat to Bidvest Wits at FNB Stadium on Saturday.

Eva Nga’s 40th-minute goal and Cole Alexander’s 64th-minute strike were enough to sink Clint Larsen’s charges‚ leaving their Limpopo neighbours Black Leopards‚ who lost 3-0 to league champions Mamelodi Sundowns‚ as the Premiership team in the relegation/promotion playoffs.

Leopards live to further fight for their survival against the GladAfrica Championship’s runners-up Ajax Cape Town and third-placed finishers Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila.

Polokwane City will be gutted with their relegation so soon after their best finish of their seven-year stint in the top flight last season of fifth.

Their demise does not‚ however‚ come as a complete surprise given Polokwane City’s struggles for form in a campaign they started like a racehorse out the gates when they won four of their first six games. They followed that with nine defeats on the trot‚ which was the start of their troubles.

Polokwane City went to this match with their future already hanging by the thinnest of threads as they needed to beat Wits 8-0‚ or perhaps by a lesser margin if Baroka FC were to lose by a hatful of goals to Kaizer Chiefs‚ to have any chance of overtaking Bakgaga in 15th spot.

Baroka drew 1-1 with Chiefs to finish in 14th spot‚ the key result that also denied Amakhosi a chance to win their first league title in five years.

Also confirmed on Saturday was Orlando Pirates finishing third and booking their spot in next season’s Caf Confederation Cup after Gabadinho Mhango’s fist half-goal gave the Buccaneers a 1-0 win over Stellenbosch FC at Ellis Park.

With his 16th goal of the season Mhango got to share the coveted Premiership top goal-scorer award with Peter Shalulile of Highlands Park‚ who scored a last-minute equaliser to earn his side a 1-1 draw against AmaZulu.

Highlands’ draw was‚ however‚ not enough to stop Cape Town City‚ 1-0 winners over SuperSport United‚ and Bloemfontein Celtic‚ 3-1 winners over Maritzburg United‚ from finishing inside the top eight.

Cape Town City finished sixth and Celtic‚ under former player John Maduka in the bio-bubble after the departure in July of Lehlohonolo Seema‚ finished in the eighth spot.

PSL PROMOTION/RELEGATION PLAYOFF FIXTURES

Sunday‚ September 6

Ajax Cape Town v Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila (TTM)

Wednesday‚ September 9

Black Leopards v Ajax Cape Town

Saturday‚ September 12

TTM v Black Leopards

Tuesday‚ September 15

TTM v Ajax Cape Town

Friday‚ September 18

Ajax Cape Town v Black Leopards

Monday‚ September 21

Black Leopards v TTM

PODCAST | Fan face-off part two: Chiefs vs Sundowns

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