Chiefs clinch league as Bucs go Downs

2013-05-12 06:00

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Dramatic encounters see title contenders losing deciding matches that should send the trophy to Naturena.

For the first time in many seasons, there won’t be last-day drama in the Absa Premiership title race as Kaizer Chiefs have mathematically won it.

Chiefs were the biggest winners yesterday after both title contenders Platinum Stars and Orlando Pirates lost their games.

Chiefs, who were not in action, could still lose their remaining two games against SuperSport United on Wednesday and Saturday’s final league match against University of Pretoria but be crowned champions because of their healthy goal difference.

Only a complete collapse for Amakhosi, in which they have to concede more than 10 goals in their remaining two games can see Stars catch them.

Pirates’ loss to Mamelodi Sundowns yesterday means they could only finish on 55 points if they win their remaining two games. But in all fairness this has not been their season – Alje Schut’s stoppage-time headed goal means they have surrendered the league title to their archrivals.

The double-treble champions will finish the season without any silverware and their only consolation now is their place in the group stages of the CAF Champions League.

Downs’ dream of finishing in the top eight is on course as a win over Bidvest Wits in their final game would guarantee them a place in the MTN8.

Sundowns avenged their 3-1 first-round defeat with this victory.

This was Pirates’ second successive loss at home after losing to Chippa United last week.

They will now host Black Leopards and Maritzburg United on Wednesday and Saturday.

They would hope to unseat Stars from second position.

»?Meanwhile, Daniel Mothowagae reports that SuperSport United will have a say on who finishes second and third in the Absa Premiership despite being on the verge of emerging with the most draws this season.

Matsatsantsa a Pitori yesterday clocked their 16th draw of the campaign, their ninth goalless match.

But their last fixture against Platinum Stars on Saturday will determine who between the Bafokeng side and Pirates – who have a game in hand – takes the runners-up spot.

The share of the spoils between SuperSport and Moroka Swallows was still enough for both sides as it enhanced their bids for a top-eight finish.

This was also after results from matches involving other contenders Free State Stars and Sundowns went in favour of the Atteridgeville fixture.

Three-time league champions SuperSport will meet Chiefs on Wednesday in an encounter where Amakhosi need a point to ensure the championship, just in case Stars score 10 goals without Chiefs finding the net in their last two matches.

But the game at Peter Mokaba Stadium will still be relevant to provide a dress rehearsal before the two sides’ confrontation in the Nedbank Cup final on May 25. Coach Gavin Hunt’s side showed yesterday that their long season, owing to the many tournaments they participated in, has taken its toll on his players.

MTN8 champions Swallows should preserve their chances of defending their title with a favourable result when they host Bloemfontein Celtic in Dobsonville, Soweto, on Saturday.

Swallows’ season was blighted by the column on goals scored and conceded as they have been a team that concedes as much as they score.

»?This result saw Chiefs claim the Absa Premiership title without raising a sweat this weekend.

Stars’ loss meant they remain three points behind at 53 with a match to go while Amakhosi have 56 points and two games remaining.

They need just one point to be clear while even losing two matches would still see them take the league as they have a far superior goal difference to Dikwena.

Stars have enjoyed their best season in top flight football under the guidance of Cavin Johnson but this loss means they will end the season with no silverware as they were bundled out of the Nedbank Cup by SuperSport on Wednesday.

Johnson’s side end their fairytale season with a must-win game against the same SuperSport on Saturday.

For Abafana Bes’thende, the hard-fought win was just what the doctor ordered as it steered them clear of relegation which has been a fearsome factor in the Durban team’s season.

Arrows wind down their season with a visit to relegation-threatened Ajax Cape Town, who went deeper into trouble with a draw away to Maritzburg United in the KwaZulu-Natal capital. – Additional reporting by Sibongiseni Gumbi

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