SuperSport United retained the title on goal difference after finishing level with Orlando Pirates on points. United completed a 30-match league schedule by drawing 0-0 with Santos in Cape Town, while Pirates defeated AmaZulu 3-1 in Johannesburg with all the goals coming during the first half.
SuperSport and Pirates accumulated 55 points each after a thrilling climax to the richest African national football championship and the former collected the million-dollar first prize on goal difference at plus 23, against plus 17. The battle to avoid the promotion-relegation play-offs was equally tense with Bloemfontein Celtic condemning Thanda Royal Zulu to the ordeal on goal difference.
Celtic crashed 5-1 at provincial neighbours Free State Stars while Thanda could only draw 0-0 at home to Maritzburg United in a match between kwaZulu-Natal clubs. Already doomed Bay United finished on a low note with their goalkeeper helping a corner into his own net, giving Lamontville Golden Arrows a 1-0 victory in Port Elizabeth.
After creating more chances, long-time pacesetters SuperSport had to endure an anxious final 20 minutes knowing that one slip could have presented the trophy to 1995 African champions Pirates. A 'Buccaneers' outfit revitalised this season by coach and former Dutch star Ruud Krol wasted no time putting pressure on SuperSport with Thulasizwe Mbuyane scoring twice and Katlego Mashego once in the opening half at Ellis Park.
Brad Ritson was on target for AmaZulu, who slipped in the closing weeks of the league campaign after looking poised to finish fourth following a six-match unbeaten run under former national coach Clive Barker. Kaizer Chiefs triumphed 2-0 at Platinum Stars to finish third one day after telling Turkish coach Muhsin Ertugral that his contract with the Soweto giants would not be renewed following a trophy-less season.
Surprise packets Free State came fourth after walloping Celtic and other qualifiers for the season-opening top eight competition were Arrows, Wits University, Ajax Cape Town and AmaZulu. A surprising omission is Mamelodi Sundowns, an expensively assembled squad under mining magnate-cum-owner Patrice Motsepe, who missed out by one point after being held goalless at home by Ajax.