Letladi Madubanya scored a crucial goal for Baroka against Ajax. Photo: Ryan Wilkisky, BackpagePix
Baroka FC kept their dreams of staying up in the Absa Premiership with their first win in eight matches to secure a playoff spot, while Highlands Park were yesterday relegated from the elite league.

Golden Arrows, meanwhile, sneaked into the top eight ahead of Ajax Cape Town by beating Orlando Pirates via a last-minute winner. 

Matshelane Mamabolo followed the events of the season’s final day, and here he brings you a minute-by-minute tale of how it all panned out.

3pm: A moment of silence as the PSL clubs “say no to femicide” precedes kickoff all over the country on the final day of the 2016/17 Absa Premiership season. We are off as five clubs seek to avoid the drop to the NFD and five others strive for a top-eight finish.

3.15pm: It’s still goalless everywhere except at Peter Mokaba Stadium, where Cape Town City are 2-0 up (Lebogang Manyama and Lehlohonolo Majoro scored) on Polokwane City and thus in second position and going to the Caf Champions League. At the bottom, things are unchanged – Baroka bottom and Highlands in the playoff spot.

3.21pm: Pirates take the lead through Thamsanqa Gabuza at Golden Arrows to move to ninth spot. Can they sneak into the top eight?

3.30pm: Half-hour mark update: Status quo remains all over the country, Eric Tinkler’s team above Sundowns. Things same at the bottom.

3.35pm: Celtic go ahead against Maritzburg to put some daylight between themselves and relegation danger. Siwelele are on 31 points now.

3.36pm: The Brazilians take the lead against Highlands Park via a Themba Zwane goal. The Lions of the North go down to bottom spot, with Baroka now above them on a better goal difference

3.39pm: More misery for Highlands as Tapuwa Kapini hacks Yannick Zakri to concede a penalty. Thabo Nthethe converts with ease, 2-0.

3.41pm: The soccer gods smile on Baroka as Ajax Cape Town get reduced to 10 men after Roscoe Pietersen sees red. Will Bakgaga take advantage?

3.45pm: Seun Ledwaba pulls one back for Highlands and gives them a fighting chance towards the end of the half. And the home team pushes hard for the equaliser, but fail to convert chances.

Halftime: Highlands going down as they are losing 2-1 to Sundowns; Baroka – goalless against 10-man Ajax in the playoff spot. Top-eight fight is still tight, with Ajax keeping the others out.

4.05pm: Off we go for the second half. What have the coaches told the players? The next 45 minutes will tell.

4.10pm: Baroka are saving themselves! Letladi Madubanya puts Bakgaga 1-0 up with a good header. The Limpopo outfit are now on equal points with both Free State Stars and Chippa United, but their pathetic goal difference means they are still in the playoff spot.

4.19pm: Madubanya goes from hero to zero following a reckless tackle just after he’d scored. A second yellow card sees him off, and Baroka without their key man in the middle. How are they going to negotiate the last 30 minutes?

4.20pm: Lamola restores parity for Arrows against Pirates, and the Buccaneers’ hopes of sneaking into the top eight fade fast.

Golden Arrows striker Lerato Lamola netted against Orlando Pirates to secure a top-eight finish. Photo: Gerhard Duraan, BackpagePix

4.30pm: Platinum Stars take the lead against SuperSport and sneak into the top eight, while Polokwane extend their lead over CT City to 4-2.

4.39pm: Baroka captain Olaleng Shaku clears ball off line as Ajax pile on pressure in search of the equaliser that will secure them a top-eight spot.

4.43pm: Heart-in-the-mouth stuff for Baroka as Oscarine Masuleke contrives to present Ajax a chance to equalise by totally missing the ball. But Shaku is on hand to deny Lebohang Mokoena and save his goalkeeper’s blushes.

4.53pm: Arrows score the winner via Knox Mutizwa in the last minute to secure a top-eight finish while sentencing Pirates to their worst-ever finish in the Premiership.

4.54pm: Mthobi Mvalo equalises for Highlands, too little too late.

4.55pm: Peep, peep, peep! It’s all over nationwide. Highlands relegated and Baroka in the playoff spot due to a poor goal difference after Free State Stars and Chippa drew 0-0.

Sunday Independent

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