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Jose Riveiro, coach of Orlando Pirates. Picture: VELI NHLAPO
Jose Riveiro, coach of Orlando Pirates. Picture: VELI NHLAPO

Orlando Pirates and SuperSport United took their captivating, neck-and-neck race for runner-up spot in the Premier Soccer League (PSL) to next Saturday’s final day of action after their results on the second-last  day of the season.

The tense relegation battle will also only be settled on the same day when all games kick off simultaneously at 3pm. 

SuperSport maintained their challenge for the second Champions League spot with a 1-0 win over Kaizer Chiefs at Royal Bafokeng Stadium thanks to a goal five minutes before half-time by Zambia international Gamphani Lungu. The win, which ensured Matsatsantsa finish the season unbeaten at home, prompted coach Gavin Hunt, who was unceremoniously dumped by Chiefs two years ago, to tweet: “Three points never tasted so sweet.” 

The defeat, Amakhosi’s record 11th of the season in the PSL era, ended any hopes of them playing continental football next season as SuperSport’s victory ensured they could finish no lower than third, which guarantees them a spot in the Confederation Cup.  

Chiefs now face the possibility of being overtaken by Cape Town City when they clash at FNB Stadium on Saturday. Defeat for the once-mighty Glamour Boys will see them finishing in a disappointing fifth place, just as they did last season, but with three points fewer than the 47 they garnered in the 2021-22 campaign.   

Saturday’s game was marred by some unruly Chiefs fans hurling objects at coach Arthur Zwane, who was injured in an eye by a bottle thrown at him. Hopefully the culprit will be identified and appropriately sanctioned. 

Pirates’ 1-1 draw against Sekhukhune United at Orlando Stadium allowed SuperSport to draw level with them on 51 points, although they are two ahead on goal difference, which could prove decisive.  

Terrence Dzvukamanja continued his prolific goal-scoring form with his fifth in six games to give the Buccaneers the lead on the half-hour mark but Ghanaian midfielder Edwin Gyimah headed in the equaliser 10 minutes later to maintain seventh-placed Babina Noko’s challenge for a top-eight finish. 

Khanyisa Mayo’s second-half brace extended Richards Bay’s winless run in the league to 13 games (10 losses and three draws) as the Cape Town City striker, who was named the club’s player of the season on Saturday,  joined Mamelodi Sundowns striker Peter Shalulile on 12 goals in the race for this season’s Golden Boot.  

Richards Bay, who are on 32 points, just three ahead of the bottom three — Maritzburg United, Chippa United and Marumo Gallants — need to pick up at least one point in their last game, at home to Royal AM, to ensure they avoid the play-offs.   

The Team of Choice gave themselves an outside chance of extending their 15-season stay in the top-flight with a nervy 1-0 win over Stellenbosch FC. Former France junior international Amadou Soukouna’s 40th-minute goal, his eighth of the season, was enough to secure his team’s first win in five games, but it may not be enough to ensure their Premiership status.   

Maritzburg play their last game against Sundowns on Tuesday evening due to Masandawana’s semifinal second-leg clash against Wydad Casablanca on Saturday afternoon. 

Even though they’ve already wrapped up the league title, Sundowns won’t be lacking motivation as they need the three points to take them to 72, one more than the record of 71 for a 30-game season set by Pitso Mosimane’s side when they won the 2015-16 title. They also need one more win to equal the record of 22 victories in a season set by Mosimane’s class of 2015-16.  

If they win, and even if Pirates and SuperSport both get three points, Sundowns would have an 18-point winning margin, beating the 16-point margin set last season. 

TS Galaxy’s 4-0 drubbing of Chippa United at the Mbombela Stadium on Saturday not only moved them to safety but also gives them an outside chance of finishing in the top eight. At the same time, the heavy defeat badly dented Chippa’s goal difference, which could be crucial in their effort to avoid relegation or the play-off spot. 

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