Free State Stars and Chippa United will both play Absa Premiership football next season after they shared the spoils in a 0-0 draw at Goble Park on Saturday.
Both sides were under the threat of finishing in the relegation zone, but their stalemate – combined with a draw for Highlands Park and victory for Baroka FC – ensured they ended the 2016/17 season in safety.
The first notable effort on goal arrived in the 17th minute, with Stars’ Nhlanhla Vilakazi shooting direct from a free kick, but Chippa goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi made a relatively comfortable save.
On the half hour mark the hosts threatened from a set piece again – this time Thokozani Sekotlong went for goal from a free kick, but struck his effort just wide of the target, much to the relief of Akpeyi.
Chippa’s lack of control in midfield saw them make a change 10 minutes before the half time break, with Mbulelo Wambi coming off the bench to replace Sandile Zuke.
The substitute soon had an effort on goal, but Stars remained the more potent side in attack, with chances for Vilakazi and Sinethemba Jantjie in the dying minutes of the first half which they were unable to convert.
Chippa also made the first change of the second half when they introduced Tswarelo Bereng in place of striker Rhulani Manzini, who had a quiet game upfront for the Chilli Boys.
In the 69th minute Stars threatened through veteran captain Paulus Masehe, who got on the end of a corner kick from Jantjie but sent his header over the target.
Chippa had offered little in attack through the second half, but on 86 minutes they had a chance for Mpho Mvelase, who was unable to beat Thela Ngobeni in the Ea Lla Koto goal.