Baroka safe, Maritzburg into playoffs

Baroka FC fought back to secure a 1-1 draw against Maritzburg United at the Old Peter Mokaba Stadium on Saturday afternoon, ensuring that they will play in the Absa Premiership next season.

Bakgaga ended just above the red zone, while the Team of Choice will go into the promotion/relegation playoffs and fight for their survival – a good outcome for coach Eric Tinkler and his team considering that they looked to be dead and buried just a couple of months ago.

Maritzburg almost claimed the lead in the sixth minute through Mohau Mokate, who hit the crossbar with a glancing header from Allan Kateregga’s corner kick delivery.

Another fine corner delivery from the Ugandan saw United go 1-0 up in the 19th minute: Baroka goalkeeper Elvis Chipezeze could only get fingertips on the cross and Fortune Makaringe latched onto the loose ball at the far post, tucking it home for 1-0.

Baroka grew in confidence as the game went on, with their best attempt at getting back on level terms before the interval arriving in the 37th minute when Kagiso Selemela sent a long-range attempt on target, but Richard Ofori tipped it over the crossbar.

The Limpopo side continued to chip away at Maritzburg’s defence and they finally broke through in the 65th minute. United failed to properly clear a free kick, Selemela sent in a low cross from the right by-line and Mduduzi Mdantsane fired home from the middle of the penalty area to make it 1-1.

That proved to be the last major highlight of the match, with neither team able to add to the score line. Baroka finished in 14th place, while United were 15th – level on points with Free State Stars, but avoiding direct relegation thanks to Ea Lla Koto’s inferior goal difference.

Baroka FC (0) 1 (Mdantsane 65’)

Maritzburg United (1) 1 (Makaringe 19’)

Baroka: Chipezeze, Kgoetyane, Ntswane, Sibiya, Mongae, Madigoe, Mosele, Patjie (Mapheto 90+6’), Mdantsane, Selemela, Makgantai (Sodi 90+3’)

Maritzburg: Ofori, Allie, De Reuck, Xulu, Shandu, Timm, Makaringe, Ndlovu, Kateregga (Kunene 60’), Mokate, Zakri (Moseamedi 65’)