Mamelodi Sundowns secured a hard-fought 2-1 win over Highlands Park in an Absa Premiership match at the Makhulong Stadium in Tembisa on Tuesday.
Despite the victory, the Brazilians remained third on the league standings, while the Lions of the North also remained ninth on the table.
The Brazilians were the better side in the opening exchanges and they managed to grab an early goal through Thapelo Monare.
The speedy utility player outpaced the Highlands defence, before firing past goalkeeper Tapuwa Kapini to make it 1-0 to Sundowns 11 minutes into the game.
The momentum was with the Brazilians and Morena turned provider eight minutes later after the Lions of the North’s defence was exposed again.
Morena set-up in-form attacking midfielder Themba Zwane, who beat his marker before scoring to make it 2-0 to Sundowns – netting his third goal in two matches in all competitions.
The home side had to find away to pull one back with the half-hour mark approaching.
They were gifted a goal as Sundowns keeper Dennis Onyango let the ball slip and Lindokuhle Mbatha pounced and made it 2-1 in the 32nd minute.
Mbatha, who was playing against his former side, was looking lively and the attacking midfielder hit the crossbar with the halftime break approaching.
Sundowns were then able to contain Highlands and they were leading 2-1 at the interval.
Pitso Mosimane, the Sundowns coach, made a change seven minutes after the restart pulling out attacker Anthony Laffor and he introduced defender-cum-midfielder Lyle Lakay.
The defending league champions pushed for their third goal and Sundowns’ long-range specialist Hlompho Kekana forced Kapini into a low save after the hour-mark.
The Lions of the North attacked in numbers, but they were left vulnerable at the back and they were nearly punished by Zwane, who was brilliantly denied by Kapini in the 72nd minute.
The visitors introduced defender Motjeka Madisha in the closing stages of the game as Sundowns solidified their defence.
Ultimately, Sundowns emerged 2-1 winners over Highlands after containing the hosts in the dying minutes of the match.
Highlands (1) 1 (Mbatha 32′)
Sundowns (2) 2 (Morena 11′, Zwane 19′)
Highlands: Kapini, Fransman (Haoseb 46′), Ramoraka, Mokoena, Msimango, Rae, Mbatha, Mahlangu, Shalulile (Mogaila 83′), Sekola (Ndoro 60′), Mvala.
Sundowns: Onyango, Langerman, Lebusa, Nascimento, Ngcongca, Kekana, Mabunda, Zwane (Madisha 86′), Laffor (Lakay 52′), Morena (Malajila 89′), Maboe.