Motjeka Madisha of Mamelodi Sundowns challenges Franklin Cale of Highlands Park at Makhulong Stadium on Saturday. Photo: Sydney Mahlangu, BackpagePix

It wasn’t a good Saturday afternoon for the two Mother City clubs on the final day of the PSL season.

Both had ambitions – for Ajax Cape Town a top-eight finish and for Cape Town City the runners-up spot – but both failed dismally.

Ajax were beaten 1-0 by Baroka FC at the Cape Town Stadium, a result that left them just outside the top eight, in 10th position.

City lost 4-2 to Polokwane City at the Peter Mokaba Stadium, a result that keeps them in the third place on which they had started the day.

In other results on the final day of the season, Kaizer Chiefs edged Bidvest Wits 1-0, Mamelodi Sundowns and Highlands Park drew 2-2 and Golden Arrows defeated Orlando Pirates 2-1.

Platinum Stars got the better of SuperSport United 1-0, Maritzburg United and Bloemfontein Celtic drew 1-1 and the match between Free State Stars and Chippa United finished goalless.

So, as to the final PSL picture, it looks like this: Bidvest Wits are the champions and Mamelodi Sundowns finish second – and both qualify for next season’s African Champions League.

City end their debut top-flight campaign in third and will participate in next season’s CAF Confederations Cup.

As for the top-eight positions that had been up for grabs at the start of the day, Maritzburg finished seventh and Arrows eighth.

At the bottom, Highlands Park are relegated to the National First Division (NFD), while Baroka’s win over Ajax kept their top-flight hopes alive.

Baroka ended second-last and will join the top two NFD sides in the promotion playoffs, Black Leopards and Stellenbosch FC, which kick off on Wednesday.

At the Cape Town Stadium, a lacklustre Ajax made things difficult and they only had themselves to blame for the surprise defeat.

First, even though they dominated the opening stages, their build-up play was ponderous, which allowed Baroka to always regroup and stay compact.

And then, because of the Cape side’s inability to trouble the opposition in attack, they left themselves vulnerable at the back – and on one such occasion, they paid the price when Roscoe Pietersen was red-carded.

With Baroka’s Letladi Madubanye through on goal in the 40th minute, and Pietersen the last man in defence when fouling his opponent, the referee had no option but to send the defender off.

Roscoe Pietersen of Ajax Cape Town is sent off by referee Kulsande Qongqo on Saturday. Photo: Ryan Wilkisky, BackpagePix

Baroka took full advantage of their extra man by scoring five minutes into the second half, and it was that man Madubanye again, heading in from Punch Masenamela’s corner.

And you couldn’t keep Madubanye out of the game – in the 60th minute, he was sent off after picking up a second yellow card for a crude foul on Travis Graham.

Graham never recovered from the tackle and was replaced by striker Nathan Paulse. With both teams down to 10 men, Ajax were able to throw the kitchen sink at Baroka in their desire to get back on level terms.

Baroka’s goalkeeper Oscarine Masuluke made a good save towards the end to deny Prince Nxumalo, but in truth, Ajax lacked a cutting edge and never really looked like they could score.

There was very little desire or urgency from the Capetonians and, if they were “hair-dryered” by head coach Stanley Menzo afterwards, they would have deserved every harsh word or insult flung in their direction.

With so much at stake, and to show such little heart and hunger, to be brutally honest, that’s just cowardly.

In Polokwane, City took a 2-0 lead inside the opening eight minutes, with goals from Aubrey Ngoma and Lehlohonolo Majoro.

Unfortunately the Capetonians weren’t able to hang on to the lead because by halftime, Polokwane had drawn level with goals from Jabu Maluleke and Rodney Ramagalela.

Seven minutes into the second half, things went from bad to worse for City when Polokwane took a 3-2 lead with a goal by Sibusiso Mbonani. By the 70th minute it was 4-2 when Vusi Mngomezulu netted, and the City implosion was complete.

The Cape side, though, had a number of regular players absent through injury or suspension, including influential Austrian Roland Putsche.

Most importantly, however, the final-day defeat certainly can’t detract from what City have achieved this season. They’ve done themselves and the city proud.

PSL Top 8 – Wits 60, Mamelodi Sundowns 57, Cape Town City 55, Chiefs 50, SuperSport 48, Polokwane 43, Maritzburg 38, Arrows 38.


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