Bethlehem - Free State Stars came from behind to send Black Leopards crashing to the National First Division on Saturday with a 3-2 win in their Premiership clash.
The hosts scored through Kennedy Mweene, Dove Wome and Anver Esterhuizen, and while Leopards fought hard and struck twice, via Mongezi Bobe and David Zulu, they finished bottom of the log at the end of the top-flight campaign.
Lidoda Duvha will play in the second-tier league next season, while Stars ended the Premiership season in seventh position.
Leopards captain Bobe broke the deadlock early on, beating Stars keeper Mweene with a fine volley after receiving a pass from Rodney Ramagalela.
Inspired by the goal, the visitors piled on the pressure, creating numerous chances as Ea Lla Koto battled to adjust to the pace of the game.
In the 19th minute, Ramagalela came close to doubling the lead but missed the target with a right-footed effort.
The visitors dominated proceedings, playing neat inter-change passes and troubling the hosts, and they should have increased the lead in the 26th minute. But midfielder Raymond Monama wasted the chance when opting to pass to his offside teammate, rather than converting with Mweene left stranded.
As frustration took its toll, Stars resorted to long-range attempts and they almost levelled matters twice within three minutes through Esterhuizen and Dove Wome, whose thunderous shot came off the crossbar with Azwinndini Maphaha well beaten.
Stars were awarded a penalty in the 37th minute by referee Jerome Damon, after Leopards defender Ernot Dzaga brought down Wome in the box, and Mweene converted with ease, sending the keeper the wrong way.
The home side had the upper hand in the second half, creating multiple opportunities.
In the 53rd minute, however, Monama wasted another golden chance to give Leopards the lead after he caught the Stars defence off guard and fired wide with Mweene again stranded.
Two minutes later, Ea Lla Koto's trusted goal-poacher, Wome, doubled the advantage, beating Maphaha with a spectacular long-range strike.
The Togolese player came close to making it 3-0 in the 68th minute but missed the target with a right-footed shot after being set-up by substitute Thapelo Mkhatshwa.
Stars extended the gap with 18 minutes left via Esterhuizen's splendid header from a corner kick.
The hosts then went to sleep, allowing Leopards to reduce the deficit via Zulu who netted a late consolation goal.