SuperSport United were made to work but in the end secured a top eight finish in the PSL, beating Polokwane City 4-2 in a thrilling end to the season at Lucas Moripe Stadium
Needing maximum points to ensure they take part in next season's MTN8, SuperSport did the business and showed their class, leaving a happy Lucas Moripe Stadium in their wake.
Unfortunately for City, a loss, as well as a positive result for Free State Stars, means they now have to take part in a scrap for promotion and relegation in the playoffs.
The Polokwane side finished the season second-last, behind Stars and now have to play two NFD's teams to decide who plays in the PSL next season.
City looked up for the fight and were applying early pressure through their strikers, as SuperSport were surprised by a barrage of attacks from their relegation-threatened opponents.
Rise and Shine refused to go away and Tloland caused plenty of problems at the back, heading wide on 13 minutes.
SuperSport eventually found their feet and had their first opportunity fall to Sibusiso Khumalo, who had a chance from a set-pice narrowly outside the box. Khumalo, however, sent the ball sailing off target and wasted a promising first chance.
City failed to make their chances count and were poor in front of goal, where they regularly missed the mark, which gave SuperSport hope.
Seven minutes before the half-time break, SuperSport took the lead, against the run of play, as Khumalo squared a ball to Phala inside the box. An unmarked Phala was given far too much space and slotted home the opener, to hand the home side the advantage.
Having been down at half-time, Rise and Shine wasted no time in levelling the game after the interval, as Thabo Rakhale did brilliantly to cancel out Phala's opener.
A defensive error allowed Rakhale to pick up the ball on the edge of the area, before going past a helpless Ronwen Williams, who tried to steal the ball from Rakhale's feet.
Having gone round the goalkeeper, all that was left was for Rakhale to slot home the vital equaliser, leaving a fuming Cavin Johnson bemoaning a lapse in concentration from his back row.
City kept attacking but were unable to make the most of their chances as Tlolane and Kanyenda once again unlocked the United defence, only to be denied by a sliding effort which went centimetres wide of the goal.
But SuperSport looked to make up for their mistake and re-gained the lead in the 67th minute, as Nkoana netted their second of the day for the home side, sliding his last-ditch effort under goalkeeper Modiri Marumo.
Having seen their lead disappear once already in the game, United made sure of the result and slotted home their third of the day, courtesy of Chenene's composed finish at the near post, as City looked done and dusted and destined for the playoffs.
Boebie Solomons' side were handed a life-line with 10 minutes to go, as referee Victor Gomes pointed to the penalty spot and awarded City a vital spot-kick, which Vukile Mngqibisa cooly slotted to pull back within one of the leaders.
But the celebrations from the City side of the stands quickly vanished as Phala put the visitors to the sword from the right of the pitch with a clinical finish.