Mamelodi Sundowns have opened up a seven-point lead at the top of the Absa Premiership after they defeated second-placed Cape Town City 1-0 at the Athlone Stadium on Friday night.
The Brazilians secured the victory thanks to a superbly-taken goal from Khama Billiat early in the second half, while the Citizens enjoyed most of the possession but lacked penetration in the final third of the field.
Sundowns almost claimed the lead thanks to a poor back-pass from Craig Martin in the 13th minute, but City goalkeeper Sage Stephens did just enough to thwart Jeremy Brockie.
City dominated the remainder of the first half, though they created only a few openings in the visitors’ defence. The first arrived in the 23rd minute and saw Denis Onyango push away a shot-cross toward the near post by left-winger Lyle Lakay.
The next major incident arrived on 41 minutes and saw Thabo Nodada threaten to get in behind the defence, only to be challenged on the edge of the box by Onyango, who was arguably lucky not to be sent off.
The goalkeeper’s challenge won the ball but gave Nodada a game-ending cut to the leg, and he was replaced at the start of the second half by Ayanda Patosi.
Three minutes into the second stanza the Brazilians claimed the lead. Percy Tau made a great run down the left flank before providing a clever scooped cross from the by-line, which was then beautifully finished on the volley by Khama Billiat to put ‘Downs 1-0 up.
City should have drawn level in the 55th minute when a Lakay cross picked out Patosi in a great shooting position, but the substitute’s effort was tame and easily saved by Onyango.
The hosts enjoyed most of the play for what remained of the game, but they lacked the firepower in attack to really trouble the Brazilians’ defence. Their only notable effort in the dying minutes was a long-range shot from Patosi which required Onyango to tip the ball over his own crossbar.
City further blotted their copybook in injury time when captain Robyn Johannes picked up two yellow cards within seconds of each other to be sent off by referee Victor Gomes.
Cape Town City 0
Mamelodi Sundowns (0) 1 (Billiat 48’)
Cape Town City: Stephens, Mkhize, Johannes, Fielies, Edmilson, Martin, Putsche (Akosah-Bempah 82’), Modise, Lakay, Nodada (Patosi 46’), Masina (Ralani 66’)
Onyango, Morena, Soumahoro, Nascimento, Langerman, Manyisa, Mabunda, Vilakazi (Zwane 47’), Billiat (Ngoma 77’), Brockie (Madisha 62’), Tau