Runners-up race and relegation take centre stage

Runners-up race and relegation take centre stage
Orlando Pirates players warming up

by Staff Reporter

Friday May 19, 2023. 11:00

The race to be runners-up and the relegation battle will take centre stage when South Africa’s DStv Premiership wraps up with seven matches played simultaneously on the afternoon of the Saturday 20 May 2023.

One Round 30 match has already been played, with Mamelodi Sundowns and Maritzburg United drawing 1-1 on Tuesday 16 May. The match was brought forward due to the Brazilians’ ongoing participation in the CAF Champions League.

The Tshwane side will return to the CAFCL next season due to their sixth successive title success, but which club will join them in the premier continental competition? Orlando Pirates currently occupy the all-important runners-up slot, but SuperSport United trail them only on goal difference.

The Buccaneers will face AmaZulu away on the final day and need to at least match Matsatsantsa’s result away to Sekhukhune United to lock down second place.

“You can correct me if I am wrong, but it is still in our hands to get the second spot when we win next week in Durban, that’s our objective now. Hopefully, the Buccaneers [supporters] will fill up the stadium and we can celebrate the second position,” said Pirates coach Jose Riveiro, who will also look to complete a cup double by adding the Nedbank Cup to the MTN8 when the former competition’s final is played on May 27.

“Anything can happen [on the final day],” noted SuperSport coach Gavin Hunt. “Personally and for the players, it will be a huge disappointment [if we don’t qualify for the Champions League] because they know we stuffed this thing up.”

Sundowns, Pirates, SuperSport, Kaizer Chiefs and Cape Town City are guaranteed to occupy the first five places, with the remaining three spots in the top eight (and qualification for next season’s MTN8) up for grabs.

Stellenbosch FC, Sekhukhune and Golden Arrows (all 37 points) occupy spots six to eight, but Swallows FC (37), TS Galaxy (35) and even Royal AM (34) are all in with a shot of sneaking into the top half, depending on the combination of results.

In terms of relegation, Maritzburg are in the safety of 14th place on the log after their midweek draw with Sundowns, one point ahead of Marumo Gallants (15th, relegation playoff berth) and Chippa United (16th, direct relegation), but the bottom two will have the chance to overtake the KwaZulu-Natal team with their respective matches against Swallows FC (away) and Golden Arrows (home).

Richards Bay (three points clear of the bottom two and without a win since mid-January) could also be drawn into the relegation playoff spot on goal difference depending on their result at home to Royal AM.

DStv Premiership final day fixtures

Saturday 20 May, all matches kick-off at 3pm CAT

Chippa United v Golden Arrows

Sekhukhune United v SuperSport United

Swallows FC v Marumo Gallants

AmaZulu v Orlando Pirates

Stellenbosch FC v TS Galaxy

Kaizer Chiefs v Cape Town City

Richards Bay v Royal AM

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