Mamelodi Sundowns moved up to second on the Absa Premiership table after defeating ten-man Baroka FC on Saturday afternoon.
The Brazilians made four changes from their defeat against SuperSport United in midweek, as Lebohang Maboe and Thapelo Morena returned to the line-up alongside Sibusiso Vilakazi and Mosa Lebusa.
The visitors started the brighter of the two sides as Vilakazi almost opened the scoring with a great chance in the ninth minute inside the box after linking up with Maboe but his shot was saved by Bakgaga goalkeeper Elvis Chipezeze.
Chipezeze kept Wedson Nyirenda’s charges in the game again in the 15th minute as he smothered Morena’s long range effort, with Sundowns dictating terms but there were no clear chances towards the half-hour mark.
After a long spell without clear openings, Pitso Mosimane’s men found the breakthrough seven minutes before time after being awarded a penalty when Vilakazi was brought down, which allowed Ricardo Nascimento to slot home for the opening goal.
Despite a quiet opening to the second stanza, Onkabetse Makgantai levelled matters for the hosts seven minutes after the break with a close range strike past Sundowns shot-stopper Kennedy Mweene against the run of play.
However, Masandawana restored their lead three minutes before the hour-mark courtesy of Themba Zwane who side-footed his shot away from Chipezeze inside the box following a through ball from Maboe.
The Brazilians controlled the tempo of the match from midfield with Hlompho Kekana on top of his game, but Mosimane made a tactical substitution 19 minutes before time by taking out Tiyani Mabunda for Rivaldo Coetzee.
With 15 minutes remaining, Baroka were reduced to ten men after Rodwell Chinyengetere was shown a straight red card for a strong challenge on Kekana that forced him to be taken off. The Sundowns skipper was replaced by Oupa Manyisa.
Sundowns had the advantage of playing with an extra player in the closing stages and were disciplined enough to stay compact at the back to clinch a 2-1 victory that moved them to second on the table, three points adrift of log leaders Orlando Pirates.
Baroka: Chipezeze, Ntswane, Mabeba, Sibiya, Gebhardt, Mosele, Chinyenkentere, Makgaka, Makume, Makgantai, Patjie.
Subs: Dlamini, Madubanya, Ntshumayelo, Ntshumayelo, Dickens, Mongae, Mdantsane.
Sundowns: Mweene, Ngcongca, Lebusa, Nascimento, Langerman, Mabunda, Kekana, Vilakazi, Zwane, Morena, Maboe.
Subs: Pieterse, Lakay, Tade, Coetzee, Mahlambi, Manyisa, Brockie.