The relegation scrap nears its climax after an intriguing season

Charlton Mashumba of Polokwane City celebrates goal with teammates during the Absa Premiership match between Polokwane City and Highlands Park at Loftus Versfeld Stadium on August 21, 2020 in Pretoria, South Africa.
Charlton Mashumba of Polokwane City celebrates goal with teammates during the Absa Premiership match between Polokwane City and Highlands Park at Loftus Versfeld Stadium on August 21, 2020 in Pretoria, South Africa.
Image: Samuel Shivambu/Gallo Images/BackpagePix

The relegation scrap is nearing its climax and predicting the final premiership table became a lot easier after the penultimate round of the season on Wednesday.

Polokwane City now look to be destined for the GladAfrica Championship next season after their 3-0 defeat to title-chasing Mamelodi Sundowns.

Clinton Larsen’s team have to score eight goals without any reply in their last Absa Premiership match against Bidvest Wits at the FNB Stadium on Saturday‚ and this seems a tall order.

Even if Larsen’s charges manage to pull off this miracle‚ there’s no guarantee that Baroka‚ who host Chiefs at the Bidvest Stadium on the same day‚ won’t score a goal or two.

The best and highest scoring result for Polokwane this season was a 3-1 win on September 21 last year against SuperSport United‚ which was their fourth victory in the first six league matches in which they not only looked good to survive but strong enough to challenge for the league honours.

What separates the two Limpopo teams at the bottom of the log right now is three points. But Baroka will be more worried about dragging Black Leopards‚ AmaZulu FC or Chippa United into the 15th spot to avoid being the ones going into the relegation/promotion play-offs against Ajax Cape Town and Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila next week.

“We got what we deserve‚” was Larsen’s response after the defeat to Sundowns.

"We’ve got to fight right until the final whistle of the final game.”

That was probably before Larsen realized how grim their situation actually was as Leopards beat Wits 1-0 to go level with AmaZulu on 29 points and four clear of them.

Relegation will be an earth-shattering outcome for Polokwane who played their best football in the seven years they have in the topflight when they finished fifth last season.

Polokwane seemed to willing to do better than that at the start of the current campaign‚ but that was before the wheels came completely off with nine defeats in a row soon after their brilliant win over SuperSport.

Going to their last games‚ AmaZulu‚ Leopards and Chippa will feel they might have done enough already to avoid the relegation/playoffs‚ given the fact that Baroka face log leaders Chiefs in their last match.

But then these three teams will do well to go for the jugular in their respective last games because a lot of unbelievable things have happened this season‚ and indeed a lot still hinges on what actually happens on the last day of what has been an intriguing season.

It's game on!

LAST FIXTURES OF TEAMS IN RELEGATION AND RELEGATIION/PLAY OFFS

Chippa United‚ matches played 29‚ position 12‚ points 31‚ goal difference -9

v Golden Arrows‚ Saturday

AmaZulu FC‚ matches played 29‚ position 13‚ points 29‚ goal difference -13

v Highlands Park‚ Saturday

Leopards‚ matches played 29‚ position 14‚ points 29‚ goal difference -14

v Mamelodi Sundowns‚ Saturday

Baroka FC‚ matches played 29‚ position 15‚ points 28‚ goal difference -9

v Kaizer Chiefs‚ Saturday

Polokwane City‚ matches played 29‚ position 16‚ points 25‚ goal difference -17

v Bidvest Wits‚ Saturday


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