Saturday’s Absa Premiership action saw the 2018/19 season wrap up with Mamelodi Sundowns crowned as champions, while Free State Stars were condemned to direct relegation and Maritzburg United will enter the promotion/relegation playoffs.
The Brazilians needed to win at Goble Park to claim a ninth PSL-era championship (and a third in the last four seasons) and they just about did enough, with a goal late in the first half from Phakamani Mahlambi securing a 1-0 win over Free State Stars (who finished bottom of the log and suffered direct relegation as a result).
Orlando Pirates did all they could to deny ‘Downs the title, crushing Polokwane City 3-0 in Soweto, but Pitso Mosimane’s side held their nerve to see the former Bafana Bafana coach join Gordon Igesund as a four-time PSL champion.
There was just as much drama and excitement down at the bottom of the log, where Black Leopards claimed a hard-fought 1-0 win over Cape Town City to save themselves from relegation, while Chippa United did the same by beating Kaizer Chiefs 1-0 in Port Elizabeth.
The relegation six-pointer between Baroka FC and Maritzburg United ended 1-1, with the result seeing the former avoid the prospect of the drop entirely, while the latter enter the playoffs and will fight for their top-flight survival against National First Division sides Royal Eagles and Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila.
The top-eight race went against Chiefs, whose defeat to Chippa opened the door for Highlands Park (2-0 winners at SuperSport United) and Bloemfontein Celtic (3-1 winners at home to AmaZulu) to leapfrog them, condemning the Soweto giants to the ignominy of ninth place.
Golden Arrows also missed out on their narrow chance of making the top eight, as they were beaten 1-0 at home by third-place finishers Bidvest Wits.
ABSA PREMIERSHIP RESULTS 11 MAY
SuperSport United 0-2 Highlands Park
Orlando Pirates 3-0 Polokwane City
Black Leopards 1-0 Cape Town City
Bloemfontein Celtic 3-1 AmaZulu
Golden Arrows 0-1 Bidvest Wits
Chippa United 1-0 Kaizer Chiefs
Baroka FC 1-1 Maritzburg United
Free State Stars 0-1 Mamelodi Sundowns