Mamelodi Sundowns moved up to second in the Absa Premiership standings following their 1-0 victory over Highlands Park at the Lucas Moripe Stadium on Wednesday evening, reports DYLAN APPOLIS.
Pitso Mosimane’s side came into this clash after booking their place in the Telkom Knockout Cup quarter-finals following their comfortable 5-0 victory over AmaZulu over the weekend.
Meanwhile, Owen da Gama’s men made their way into the last eight of the knockout tournament after claiming a 6-5 win on penalties against Black Leopards at Makhulong Stadium.
The visitors got off to a great start and nearly broke the deadlock in the fourth minute when Mothobi Mvala unleashed a powerful shot from the edge of the box to rattle the upright.
Thapelo Morena had a good chance to hand it to Sundowns but failed to beat Thela Ngobeni in a one-on-one situation.
Ngobeni came to his side’s rescue in the 27th minute when he made a good save to deny Themba Zwane’s effort at goal.
Hlompho Kekana came close to finding the net in the closing stages of the first half but was unable to direct his effort on target from close range.
The home side picked up where they left off and nearly opened the scoring in the 46th minute of the second half, but Morena’s effort sailed wide of the target.
Highlands had a chance of their own three minutes later but Lindokuhle Mbatha saw his shot from point-blank range blocked by Moss Lebusa, who put his body on the line to do it.
Mosimane made his first substitution of the game in the 65th minute when Mauricio Affonso came on to replace Lebohang Maboe.
Sundowns should have made it 1-0 a minute later when Affonso set up Morena, who hit the crossbar from close range.
Da Gama made a change of his own after 77 minutes when Wayde Jooste came on for Mokete Mogaila, with Sundowns replacing captain Kekana with Sphelele Mkhulise three minutes later.
The home side continued to press forward in search of the game’s opener but were struggling to break down the Highlands defence.
Mosimane made his final change in the 88th minute when Lyle Lakay was brought on to replace Anele Ngcongca.
Zwane should’ve put the game to bed in the 91st minute when he was released through on goal by Gaston Sirino, but the forward was unable to chip his effort over Ngobeni to find the net.
Sundowns’ persistence paid off in stoppage time to take the lead after Afonso slotted the ball home to score his debut goal in the Absa Premiership.
The Brazilians managed to hold on to their lead until the final whistle to collect all three points and extend their unbeaten run.
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