DURBAN – A season that was nearly written off a month ago is now set to end in a pulsating fashion this weekend when the final round of matches in the Absa Premiership is played.
In the penultimate round on Wednesday, none of the two favourites were prepared to give in as both Kaizer Chiefs and Mamelodi Sundowns secured maximum points.
Khama Billiat, who has had an underwhelming season, rose to the occasion and scored the only goal as Amakhosi ruled over Chippa United at Orlando Stadium while Sundowns played like defending champions dismissing Polokwane City 3-0 at Loftus Versveld.
The results meant that the race for supremacy in the Absa Premiership will go down the wire when the final games are played on Saturday.
Both teams are currently tied on 56 points after 29 league outings. Amakhosi are at the summit by virtue of their superior goal difference. The Brazilians have amassed an identical number of points.
Billiat broke the deadlock as early as eighth minute when Kgotso Moleko delivered an exquisite ball in to the path of Samir Nurkovic who flicked the ball into the path of the Zimbabwean wizard who just passed into an empty net.
It was a huge relief for Billiat. His last goal for Amakhosi before last night’s game was last year. He broke his duck at the right time and at the right stage of the season.
It was , however, the influence of Nurkovic that was evident in the Chiefs game. He didn’t score but was increased the options for the Glamour Boys. By far, the Serbian has been the best player for Chiefs in the season.
His goal scoring prowess has been critical for Chiefs in the current season. Nurkovic is on 13 league goals.
At Loftus Versveld, Themba Zwane delivered again when it mattered the most for Sundowns.
He increased his side’s lead after 44 minutes. Anele Ngcongca opened scoring for the Brazilians in the 39th minute.
Sundowns were in the mood after dropping points against relegation threatened Baroka FC this past weekend.
But last night they were determined to bounce back and give Amakhosi a run for their money in the title chase. Keletso Makgalwa added the third goal that virtually relegated Polokwane City.
The Brazilians needed goals and they got them. They are now trailing Chiefs by three goals but level on points.
Chiefs will square off against Baroka in their last encounter. All they need is a win.
Sundowns will have every reason to believe that they can steal the title. The Brazilians have to win and do it by scoring an avalanche of goals against Black Leopards.
Amakhosi are just 90 minutes away from ending their longest barren of trophies. The return of Itumeleng Khune following the injury of Daniel Akpeyi propelled them into the winning ways.
Khune hasn’t featured since the resumption of football and presence has been missed at this stage of the season.
Amakhosi conceded in all their matches after the local season was rebooted but Khune made a huge difference at the back last night.
He made an error before the interval but apart from that the defence looked settled with him between the sticks.
Chiefs haven’t won a silverware in five years and they are one game away from getting back to winning ways. Sundowns are chasing for the dream treble but it is currently not in their own hands.
All they can do it to win their game and hope that Chiefs will slip up against Baroka.
In other games, Bidvest Wits eliminated themselves from the title race as they went down 1-0 to Black Leopards while Orlando Pirates moved to the fourth place after defeating Maritzburg United by the same scoreline.