Evans Rusike scored two late goals to secure Maritzburg United’s Absa Premiership survival on the final day of the season after a 3-1 victory at Jomo Cosmos.
Cosmos are relegated to the National First Division after University of Pretoria won their final game against Golden Arrows 2-0, meaning they leapfrogged Ezenkosi, who end 16th.
Linda Mntambo gave Cosmos the lead in the 29th minute with a goal that could relegate Maritzburg. Charlton Mashumba laid the ball off a good 25 yards from goal and Mntambo took a touch before unleashing a left-footed rocket into the bottom-left corner, giving Sherwyn Naicker no chance.
Early in the second half, Virgil Vries kept the away side in with a chance when he came out quickly and made himself big to deny Cosmos in a one-on-one situation.
Naicker in the other goal also had to make a big diving save to keep out a Pentjie Zulu shot during a Maritzburg spell of pressure, at the end of which referee Daniel Bennett opted not to give Maritzburg a penalty for a clear but debatable handball in the box.
Ernst Middendorp’s side kept fighting and threw everything they had at the Cosmos goal in the last 15 minutes, and Mokate flicked a header over the line after a goalmouth scramble and a touch in the box from Kwanda Mngonyama in the 82nd minute to ignite some belief.
Then four minutes later, and four minutes from time .. drama! Abia Nale got down the right channel and put in a cross to the near post for Evan Rusike to deftly turn in a second goal for Maritzburg to make it 2-1 to the Durban side.
Rusike then sealed the result and the Team of Choice’s survival with a sensational killer goal, brilliantly controlling Deolin Mekoa’s long-ball before thundering a shot into the far corner from a tight angle as the Maritzburg fans lost their minds in the stands.
Cosmos: Cosmos: Naicker, Lingwati, Jampies, Zulu, Macuphu, Monare, Mntambo, Mthembu, Makobela, Mngomezulu, Mashumba Subs: Shongwe, Aka, Mukamba, Sono Jnr, Madonsela, Maluleke, Thompson
Maritzburg:Vries, Mngonyama, Teyise, Onyango, Mkhize, Mogapi, Zulu, Booysen, Van Wyk, D Mekoa, Rusike Subs: Salie, Nene, Mekoa, Banda, Maasdorp, Nale, Mokate