Local News 17.6.2017 06:40 pm

Baroka retain PSL status

Victor Letsoalo of Baroka FC celebrate with his teammates after scoring a goal during the Absa Premiership Promotional Play-Off match between Black Leopards and Baroka FC at Thohoyandou Stadium. (Photo by Philip Maeta/Gallo Images)

Victor Letsoalo of Baroka FC celebrate with his teammates after scoring a goal during the Absa Premiership Promotional Play-Off match between Black Leopards and Baroka FC at Thohoyandou Stadium. (Photo by Philip Maeta/Gallo Images)

Baroka, who finished 15th in the 16-team Absa Premiership, have managed to save their top flight status.

Baroka FC will continue to play their football in the top flight next season, after playing to a 1-all draw with Black Leopards in the final PSL/NFD Promotion/Relegation match, played at the Thohoyandou Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

In order to pip Baroka for the final spot, Leopards went into the match knowing that they would need to win by a three goal margin in order to claim top league status.

Any hopes that the hosts had of reaching their goal, suffered a major setback, when their goalkeeper Rotshidzwa Muleka, failed to punch clear a cross from the right, and the ball fell to Victor Letsoalo for the simplest of finishes from close range in the 33rd minute.

The bumpy pitch made passing extremely difficult and the outcome could have been decided in the 39th minute, but Muleka pulled off a brilliant save, as he tipped a powerful goal-bound shot from Baroka midfielder Jose Garcia, over the crossbar.

Leopards must have done much soul-searching during the half-time break, as they started the second half with a much more attacking approach.

They were helped, when Baroka goal-scorer Letsoalo was sent off, after receiving his second yellow card of the match, for a dangerous tackle on Siphelele Ntshangase. The scorer, has been a corner stone of several Leopards playoff campaigns in recent years, and is one of the midfielders of the home team that looks quite capable of playing at a higher level.

In the 64th minute, Leopards received a lifeline, when Matome Kgoetyane brought down Lebogang Mabotja in the penalty area, and Siphelele Ntshangase scored from the spot. Despite Leopards’ continued onslaughts on the Baroka goal, a further goal was not to be, with the Baroka defence holding firm.

Visiting team goalkeeper Avhashoni Tshinuna completed the match in pain, as he nursed a leg injury, but the Leopards strikers were not able to make him move or stretch to the maximum to force the error.

Baroka, who finished 15th in the 16-team Absa Premiership, now join an elite group of clubs including Mpumalanga Black Aces, Amazulu and Polokwane City, who have managed to save their top flight status, through the playoffs competition.

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results

Chiefs 1-0 Wits
Sundows 2-2 Highlands
Arrows 2-1 Pirates

fixtures

psl log

# Team GP Pts
1 Bidvest Wits 30 60
2 Sundowns 30 57
3 Cape Town City 30 55
4 Kaizer Chiefs 30 50
5 SuperSport United 30 48
6 Polokwane City 30 43
7 Maritzburg Utd 30 38
8 Arrows 30 38
9 Platinum Stars 30 37
10 Ajax Cape Town 30 36
11 Orlando Pirates 30 33
12 Bloemfontein Celtic 30 29
13 Chippa United 30 28
14 Free State Stars 30 28
15 Baroka FC 30 28
16 Highlands Park 30 27

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