Ajax Cape Town striker Yannick Zakri netted a last-gasp equaliser in a 1-1 draw with Chippa United at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth on Sunday to keep alive the Cape team’s hopes of steering clear of the basement of the PSL standings.
As it stands, with three games to go, Platinum Stars prop up the table with 21 points, and then Ajax on 28 and SuperSport United 29.
With Platinum having lost 1-0 to Kaizer Chiefs on Sunday, they look almost certain to be relegated to the National First Division (NFD).
It then leaves a real bun-fight to avoid finishing second-last and having to enter a playoff with the NFD teams ending second and third.
The winner of this playoff round-robin gets a place in next season’s PSL.
Ajax, SuperSport, Polokwane City and Golden Arrows look likely to be in this battle, which is sure to go all the way to the last game of the season.
Ajax’s last three games are Baroka (home), Mamelodi Sundowns (away) and Kaizer Chiefs (home).
SuperSport, one of the leading clubs in the PSL, are also in deep trouble – and their last three games include Free State Stars (home), Chippa United (away) and Baroka (home).
In Port Elizabeth on Sunday, it was crucial that Ajax avoided defeat. Their away form hasn’t been the best, and defeat to Chippa could well have condemned the Capetonians to that dreaded playoff spot.
When Mxolisi Macuphu gave Chippa the lead in the 53rd minute, it looked like Ajax’s worst fears were about to come true – but to their credit they rattled back, showed great character and were rewarded with a much-needed equalising goal in the 90th minute.
Goal-scorer Zakri, who is on loan from Sundowns, has been an absolute revelation for Ajax this season.
If they do manage to realise their ambition of avoiding the playoff position, then Ajax are going to owe the Ivorian a massive thanks.