Jomo Cosmos were relegated from the South African Premiership on Wednesday despite fighting back at Sinaba Stadium to draw 2-2 with Black Leopards.
A second-half brace from midfielder and captain Mongezi Bobe seemed to have sealed victory for CAF Confederation Cup title contenders Leopards on a chilly, misty autumn evening in this eastern Johannesburg township.
But sloppy defending by the visitors from northern city Polokwane allowed Cosmos back into the game and Tshidiso Tukane and Zimbabwean Matthew Rusike scored within five minutes to set up a thrilling climax.
Rusike could have won the match deep in stoppage time, but his outstretched leg narrowly failed to connect with a low cross from substitute and compatriot Taongo Dondo.
Cosmos have 19 points ahead of the final league fixtures this Saturday -- five less than second-from-bottom Santos from Cape Town and seven behind Leopards.
The side finishing second last goes into play-offs with two first division teams for one Premiership place and Leopards must beat visiting Ajax Cape Town to retain their top-flight status if Santos win at home against Cosmos.
First division champions Pretoria University will replace Cosmos in the richest African national football championship and Blackburn Rovers, Chippa United, Thanda Royal Zulu and FC AK are competing for the play-off slots.