Cape Town Spurs have one foot in the Premiership.
Ten-man Spurs, who agonisingly missed out on automatic promotion to the top flight on goal difference to Motsepe Foundation Championship winners Polokwane City, beat Casric Stars 1-0 in their promotion playoff clash at Athlone Stadium on Wednesday.
Spurs coach Shaun Bartlett was overcome with emotion and left in tears after his team’s hard-fought victory under wet and slippery conditions, where they had to recover from a 65th-minute red card to Ashley Cupido seven minutes before Morne Nel struck the wining goal.
Spurs are on the verge of returning to the top flight for the first time since they were relegated as Ajax Cape Town in 2018.
Former Bafana Bafana striker Bartlett’s team have won three matches in the playoffs and they need only a point from their remaining match against Maritzburg United next Wednesday to clinch promotion.
But they might secure a return to the Premiership even earlier if Maritzburg fail to win their match against Casric at Solomon Mahlangu Stadium in KwaMhlanga, Mpumalanga on Saturday.
Such a result would condemn the Team of Choice to the first division for the first time since the 2006-07 season.
Spurs played a man down for most of the second half after influential attacker Cupido was sent for an early shower by referee Michael Mosemeng for charging at Casric defender Elias Rammala.
In that incident, Mosemeng issued a yellow card to Rammala, leaving Bartlett fuming as Spurs’ promotion dream seemed to be slipping from their grasp.
But the Cape side rallied and soon scored the all-important winner when Nel picked a spot to beat Casric goalkeeper Ludwe Mpakumpaku with a skidding shot from outside the box.
Bartlett started the must-win match with experienced campaigners such as Nazeer Ali, Clayton Daniels, Nel, Cupido, Therlo Moosa, Jarrod Moroole and Michael Morton in his line-up.
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