Mamelodi Sundowns sealed a record-extending fifth consecutive South African Premiership title on Wednesday, despite a 0-0 draw at home to Cape Town City in Pretoria.
Securing a point lifted 12-time champions Sundowns to 58 with four matches to play, and second-placed Royal AM can reach only 57.
Cape Town stretched an unbeaten league run to nine matches and remain third, boosting chances of qualifying for one of the two African club competitions next season.
Sundowns and the runners-up go into the Champions League and the club finishing third qualifies for the Confederation Cup along with the FA Cup winners.
Having won the early season MTN 8 knockout competition and the Premiership, Sundowns are on course for a treble as they are away to Royal on Saturday in an FA Cup semi-final.
“It was nice to wrap up the title in front of our supporters,” said Sundowns co-coach Rulani Mokwena. “We missed them so much when they were barred from stadiums for two years due to Covid-19 restrictions.
“Winning would have been nicer, but there was no lack of effort from our boys tonight. City have not lost this year and proved very resolute opponents.
“Five league titles in a row is an incredible achievement and the secret of our success is that everyone at the club works together, from the chairman down.”
‘Well organised defensively’
Cape Town coach Eric Tinkler said they came to Pretoria hoping to “spoil Sundowns’ party by securing all three points”.
“We were extremely well organised defensively, which you have to be to contain a team with the attacking flair of Sundowns. The teams cancelled each other out.”
City can narrow the gap behind Royal to a single point if they win away to off-form Kaizer Chiefs on Saturday in Johannesburg.
In a match of few clearcut chances, Sundowns came closest when Rushine de Reuck won an aerial duel with Angolan goalkeeper Hugo Marques and nodded just over.
Mduduzi Mdantsane nearly put City ahead early in the second half when he controlled the ball and turned superbly in the goalmouth only to blaze wide.
In Durban, fifth-placed Chiefs suffered a third straight loss when surrendering the lead in a 2-1 defeat to mid-table Golden Arrows.
Zimbabwean Khama Billiat gave Chiefs an early lead before substitutes Siboniso Conco and Michael Gumede netted for Arrows in the final 30 minutes.
It was only the third time in 17 attempts that Arrows had won at home against Chiefs, who sacked English coach Stuart Baxter last week as a trophy-less run extended to seven seasons.
Orlando Pirates climbed one place to fourth despite only drawing 0-0 at home to relegation-threatened Chippa United in a scrappy Soweto match.