Mamelodi Sundowns 3-2 Cape Town City FC
Mamelodi Sundowns moved to the summit of the Premiership standings after recording a 3-2 victory over a battling Cape Town City outfit at Loftus Versfeld on Wednesday evening.
Lebohang Maboe fired Downs in front after 23 minutes, and the hosts held onto their slender advantage as they went into the half-time break. City rallied after half-time, drawing level through a Riyaad Norodien penalty in the 48th minute. However, Anthony Laffor restored Sundowns slender lead on the hour mark, before Phakamani Mahlambi added a third two minutes from time, rendering Kermit Erasmus' goal in the 90th minute nothing more than a consolation.
The first half was a relatively one-sided affair, with Sundowns seeing plenty of the ball and creating several clear-cut goalscoring chances.
The hosts made their intentions known early on, as Hlompho Kekana nearly caught the defence off guard after unleashing a powerful effort from range that flew narrowly over the crossbar.
City keeper Peter Leeuwenburgh was then called into action two minutes later, keeping out a stinging effort by Gaston Sirino.
And, after a brief lull in play, Downs again went close in the 21st minute, Maboe rushing his shot and firing wide in a one-on-one with Leeuwenburgh.
Maboe was not to be denied one minute later, though, as he latched onto a well weighted through-pass from Tebogo Langerman before firing past Leeuwenburgh and into the back of the net.
However, the hosts were unable to push on and add a second goal in the remaining minutes of the first half, while at the opposite end of the pitch, City offered very little in the way of an attacking threat.
That would all change after the half-time break, as Citizens coach Benni McCarthy made two substitutions in a bid to turn things around, Zukile Kewuti and Ebrahim Seedat coming on for Teko Modise and Edmilson.
The double change had the desired effect, with the visitors winning a penalty in the 48th minute after a handball in the box by Langerman. Riyaad Norodien stepped up to take it and held his nerve, slotting the ball home to restore parity.
Sundowns were a constant threat on the counter, though, and it didn't take them long to post a response, as they reclaimed the lead on the hour mark. City failed to clear their lines after a well worked Sundowns team move, and the ball fell perfectly for Anthony Laffor, who hit a first-time volley into the bottom-left corner from the edge of the box.
They very nearly added a third just five minutes later, but a neat one-two involving Themba Zwane and Sirino ended in the former firing wide of the mark with an open goal at his mercy.
It just wasn't to be for Zwane and that fact was hammered home in the 73rd minute when he was denied by Leeuwenburgh after being teed up by Sirino.
And, with just two minutes remaining, Sundowns bagged their third goal of the game as substitute Phakamani Mahlambi received a great pass from Zwane in the middle before firing past Leeuwenburgh.
The Citizens managed to pull one back through substitute Kermit Erasmus two minutes later, but it proved to be a case of too little, too late as Sundowns held on claim a vital three points in their quest to claim the Premiership title.