A dramatic finale

2014-05-04 15:00

Mamelodi Sundowns hold their fate in their own hands, while Kaizer Chiefs are going into the final week of the Absa Premiership title race on a wing and a prayer.

A win against neighbours SuperSport United on Tuesday or Maritzburg United on Saturday will hand the title to Downs, who are four points ahead of second-placed Kaizer Chiefs.

Downs might be in pole position but can they cope with the pressure that comes with being ahead of the chasing pack? They will need to draw on all their experience in the final two matches to be home and dry.

Chiefs’ coach Stuart Baxter seems to have thrown in the towel already but his players have not given up yet. They have vowed to fight to the bitter end.

After throwing away two points when they were held to a 1-1 draw by struggling Free State Stars on Wednesday night, Baxter conceded it was all over for his side.

“If Sundowns don’t win the league title now, it will be a total disaster for them. If they lose it now, they would all want [to be done] with football,” said Baxter.

Chiefs have only themselves to blame for the wheels coming off their title defence as they have only managed five points from a possible 15 in their last five games.

The past few weeks have shown that performances do not matter in the final games of the season – it all comes down to getting the three points. All the teams are trying to get good results rather than focus on playing well.

Relegation Dogfight

Five points separate the three teams fighting to avoid finishing second from bottom in the Absa Premiership and being drawn into the relegation play-offs.

With two games remaining – and bottom-placed Golden Arrows almost certain to be relegated – time is running out for Free State Stars, Polokwane City and Moroka Swallows to win the points that will bring relief to their supporters and avoid the tension of a play-off with a National First Division (NFD) side.

Arrows seem to have woken up after registering back-to-back 4-1 and 1-0 victories over Platinum Stars and SuperSport United, respectively, but it might be in vain as Free State Stars are a victory away from condemning Arrows to the NFD while guaranteeing their safety in the top flight.

Ea Lla Koto face a tricky end to the campaign with a home tie against Orlando Pirates on Tuesday and an away trip to Swallows in their last game and cannot afford any slip-ups if they are to secure another campaign in the top flight.

A victory for Polokwane City over Swallows will not only see the two clubs level on points but will also drag the struggling Birds deeper into the relegation dogfight.

The good news is that soccer fans can enjoy the thrill of both the title race and the relegation battle, regardless of how they end.

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