SuperSport United maintained their great top-eight record when they beat 10-man Orlando Pirates 2-0 in the last league game of the campaign at Lucas Moripe Stadium last night.
Matsatsantsa needed nothing less than a win to finish eighth on the log. The Tshwane side had never missed out on the top-eight finish for an impressive 21 seasons running.
Pirates were reduced to 10 men when skipper Happy Jele was sent-off by referee Luxolo Badi for pulling Thamsanqa Gabuza inside the box a few minutes before the hour-mark.
Ghampani Lungu saw his first resultant penalty saved by Richard Ofori, before netting the second attempt after the assistant referee ordered the spot-kick to be retaken, penalising the Pirates keeper for leaving his line early.
Going into this game, Pirates needed at least five unanswered goals to finish third on the log and qualify for the CAF Confederation Cup. The body language of Pirates players didn't inspire optimism at all.
Having started the first two of their three backlogged fixtures against Mariztburg United and Royal AM brilliantly, Pirates didn't enjoy a good start yesterday as they sat back and absorbed SuperSport's pressure.
The hosts' pressure would pay off as early as the 20th minute when Fortune Makaringe, from a splendidly curved Aubrey Ngoma's corner-kick, scored an own goal. After conceding, Pirates looked better than how they started. Thembinkosi Lorch started to be lively on the right flank.
Pirates, who ended the season a disappointing sixth, set-up awkwardly as their XI had no left-back. They made up for this by starting with three central defenders in Olisa Ndah, Jele and Ntsikelelo Nyauza.
Innocent Maema, who'd been starting at left-back for the better part of the second half of the season, was nowhere to be seen even on the bench.