Absa Premiership

Records for Sundowns as Cosmos relegated

2016-05-22 07:59
Pitso Mosimane (TEAMtalk)

Johannesburg - Champions Mamelodi Sundowns created records, Platinum Stars snatched a place in Africa and Jomo Cosmos were relegated during a dramatic climax on Saturday to the Absa Premiership season.


Khama Billiat scored midway through the first half to give Sundowns, who clinched the title on May 4, a 1-0 home victory over Platinum Stars in Atteridgeville near Pretoria.

It was the 12th league goal of the season for the slightly built Zimbabwe midfielder, one of the media favourites to win the Premiership Footballer of the Season award.

Sundowns finished the 30-round championship with 71 points, 14 more than runners-up Wits, who lost 1-0 away to Ajax Cape Town.

Both the total points and the points difference between the first and second finishers are records for the Premiership since it was trimmed to 16 clubs.

Wits fell away in the closing weeks of the season and Ajax striker Nathan Paulse scored from an early second half penalty to inflict defeat on the unfashionable Johannesburg club.

Sundowns and Wits will represent South Africa in the 2017 CAF Champions League, a competition clubs from the republic have fared consistently poorly in.

Platinum, another unfashionable club who are based in north-west mining town Rustenburg, snatched third place and a CAF Confederation Cup slot despite losing to Sundowns.

Mpumalanga Black Aces beat Free State Stars 1-0 courtesy of a first-minute Eddie Ngalo goal to finish level with Platinum on 47 points and plus-eight goal differences.

But Platinum qualified for Africa after an eight-year absence because they scored four goals more than Aces from north-eastern city Nelspruit.

Cosmos, coached and owned by South African football legend Jomo Sono, began the final day third from bottom and out of the relegation zone.

However, a late collapse led to a 3-1 home defeat by Maritzburg United and relegation on goal difference just one season after returning to the top flight.

Linda Mntambo gave hosts Cosmos a first-half lead in north-west university town Potchefstroom which they retained entering the closing stages.

But Maritzburg, bottom of the table for virtually all of the season, clicked in the final nine minutes with substitute Mohau Mokate equalising and Zimbabwean Evans Rusike putting them ahead.

Rusike scored again four minutes into stoppage time to complete a 3-1 victory and ensure Premiership survival for the club from eastern city Pietermaritzburg.

In a match played simultaneously, Pretoria University defeated Durban visitors Golden Arrows 2-1 to finish level on 25 points with Cosmos, but ahead on goal difference.

Pretoria go into playoffs with the clubs finishing second and third in the second division and the team topping the mini-league qualifies for the 2016/17 Premiership.

Veteran Zambia striker Collins Mbesuma of Aces won the Golden Boot award for leading Premiership scorer with 14 goals.

South African Premiership leading scorers after 2015/16 season:

14: Collins Mbesuma (Black Aces)

13: Thobani Mncwango (Polokwane City), Prince Nxumalo (Ajax Cape Town)

12: Khama Billiat (Mamelodi Sundowns)

11: Jeremy Brockie (SuperSport United)

10: Leonardo Castro (Mamelodi Sundowns), Ndumiso Mabena (Platinum Stars)

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