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Relegation axe looms large for five teams with Baroka and Swallows best placed for the chop

FILE - With two games left, Swallows FC and Baroka FC are the favourites to finish bottom of the DStv Premiership with five teams fighting against relegation. Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

FILE - With two games left, Swallows FC and Baroka FC are the favourites to finish bottom of the DStv Premiership with five teams fighting against relegation. Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

Published May 8, 2022

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Cape Town — With the relegation axe looming large for the clubs languishing at the foot end of the DStv Premiership it remains a lottery in which five teams will suffer the dreadful fate of automatic relegation.

After the weekend's results, at least five clubs are in line for automatic relegation if they end the season rock-bottom in 16th place.

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The club finishing 15th will play in the three-team promotion/relegation play-offs with the two First Divisions teams who finish the season as runners-up and in third place.

Unlike the Premiership, which was won by Mamelodi Sundowns two weeks ago, it is not clear who will win the First Division with two rounds of matches outstanding. Any of three teams can lift the title, and there will be an automatic promotion for the winner. The two next best-placed teams [the runners-up and third-placed] will proceed to the promotion/relegation play-offs.

With two rounds of Premiership matches left, Baroka are in 16h pace with 22 points. Next up are Swallows on 24, TS Galaxy on 26, Chippa on 28 and Maritzburg on 28.

After the weekend results, Lamontville Golden Arrows, Sekhukhune United and Marumo Gallants moved clear of the relegation zone. They are assured of Premiership survival.

Each of the bottom five teams have chalked up at least one win in the last rounds of matches. The highlight was Maritzburg defeating the champions, Sundowns. It would be hard to stomach for the PSL hierarchy if one of two teams to defeat the all-conquering Sundowns are relegated at the end of the season.

The only team in the bottom five not to taste defeat in the last five rounds of matches is Chippa United, who scraped a 2-all draw against Baroka over the weekend. Despite their lowly position, Baroka have played excellent football in patches throughout the season.

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Swallows face Chippa and Kaizer Chiefs in their remaining matches. They will need at least one win from these two games to drop out of the relegation zone. To date, Swallows with four, have the least wins of the 16 teams this season but have racked up 12 draws in 28 matches.

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Based on form, Chippa looks the least likely to finish in the bottom two places. Their remaining matches are against Swallows and Galaxy at least two points from these matches will take them out of the relegation equation. The bad news for Chippa's upcoming opponents is that they are among the leading teams for returning clean sheets this season. Currently, the clean sheets list reads Cape Town City — 9, Pirates, Gallants and Chippa — all on 8.

Baroka do not have any option but to win both outstanding matches and then hope the results of fellow-struggling teams will go in their favour. They face SuperSport United and Maritzburg. The form book suggests they may come away with stalemates, and that will not see them clear of the bottom two places.

One of Maritzburg's remaining two matches is a fixture against Orlando Pirates, who are still playing in the semi-final round of the CAF Confed Cup competition. It is likely that the Premier Soccer League (PSL) will schedule this fixture for midweek.

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@Herman_Gibbs

IOL Sport

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