PSL play-off permutations for Ajax CT, SuperSport Utd, Polokwane City and Baroka
Posted: 11 May 2018 Time: 18:00
The 2017/18 season draws to a close this weekend, yet it’s all set for a dramatic finale with four clubs at risk of extending their campaign by a further four games in the relegation-promotion play-offs.
Ajax Cape Town, SuperSport United, Baroka FC and Polokwane City are all in danger of ending in the dreaded 15th position come Saturday evening following a less-than-impressive showing from each club.
With only one match left to save their ailing season, here is what each team needs to do this weekend:
Ajax Cape Town
The equation for the club currently sitting in the play-off berth is simple: three points guarantees safety, regardless of any other result, based on superior goal difference to their closest rivals. The opponent, however, is Kaizer Chiefs, a side they have not managed to beat in a league game in the Mother City since 2013 – ironically when current coach Muhsin Ertugral was previously at the helm. The Urban Warriors have never been relegated in their history, yet will be up against a wounded Amakhosi outfit looking to salvage their season by securing third place and continental football for 2019.
It’s been a meteoric fall from grace for Matsatsantsa this season: following MTN8 honours and a runners-up spot in the CAF Confederation Cup within the first three months of the campaign, the wheels came off as inconsistent results saw Eric Tinkler resign as the club was sucked down into the relegation dog-fight, where they now sit 14th, two points above Ajax. A win at home to fellow strugglers Baroka will secure their safety – and even possibly bump them up into the top 10, depending on other results – while a draw will only suffice if both Ajax and Polokwane City fail to win.
Despite sitting in relative mid-table safety for most of the campaign, three draws and a loss in their last four games has Rise and Shine sweating ahead of their last game at home to top-eight hopefuls Chippa United. A lot depends on rivals’ results for the Limpopo-based side, with a draw or even a loss enough to keep them in the top-flight this year. If Ajax and SuperSport fail to win, a draw or loss would still guarantee their safety, though a defeat to the Chilli Boys combined with an Ajax win and even a SuperSport-Baroka draw will see them end in 15th.
A draw is all that is needed for Bakgaga to ensure they don’t have to negotiate the play-offs for a second season in succession, yet with SuperSport at home and desperate to stave off the embarrassment of the play-offs, this will be no easy task. An Ajax defeat or draw will see Baroka fight another day in the top-flight, yet should the Urban Warriors overcome Chiefs, Polokwane City draw or beat Chippa and Baroka fail to claim a point at SuperSport, Limpopo rivals Black Leopards and Jomo Cosmos lie in wait in the play-offs.