Lebogang Manyama racked up his 11th league goal of the campaign to hand the Citizens the win, which takes them three points clear at the top of the table, while Sundowns now sit six points adrift but with five games in hand.
The Citizens came within a whisker of taking a 30-second lead as Lehlohonolo Majoro timed his run to perfection to get behind the defence and onto the end of a deep ball into the box, although he was back-tracking when he made a connection and blindly headed just inches wide.
The hosts looked destined to get their goal after 13 minutes as Wayne Sandilands left himself in no-man’s land from the first corner of the game, but Robyn Johannes could only contrive to turn the ball wide of an empty net.
Thato Mokeke then had a good chance to work the goalkeeper after picking up a square ball inside the area, but a moment of indecision saw him neither shoot nor pass, with a wayward swipe eventually rolling out for a goal-kick.
Percy Tau then almost found the opener straight from his corner with 33 minutes gone, but Shu-aib Walters was alert to the danger and just managed to claw the ball over the crossbar and behind to safety.
The game finally got its goal three minutes before the hour mark as a lunging Majoro just managed to flick the ball through for Manyama, who showed plenty of composure to place his shot over the onrushing keeper and into an empty goal.
Sundowns twice put the ball in the back of the net in the following 10 minutes, but both Laffor and substitute Leonardo Castro were left frustrated after seeing their respective strikers ruled out for offside.
However, it was not to be for Pitso Mosimane’s men, who were forced to make the trip back to Tshwane empty-handed.