Mamelodi Sundowns secured a 1-0 win over TS Galaxy in the DStv Premiership match at the Mbombela Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
The victory saw Masandawana open a seven-point gap at the top of the league standings with four games left, while the Rockets remained eighth on the log.
The Rockets looked to contain Masandawana in the opening exchanges with Mlungisi Mbunjana and Bathusi Aubaas pulling the strings from midfield for the home side.
However, the visitors broke the deadlock in the 17th minute when Peter Shalulile scored with a header from close range to hand Sundowns a 1-0 lead after the hosts had failed to clear Aubrey Modiba’s corner-kick.
Galaxy pushed forward and they were awarded a penalty on the half-hour mark after Mosa Lebusa had handled Aubaas’ shot, but Lindokuhle Mbatha was denied by goalkeeper Kennedy Mweene from the penalty spot.
Shalulile had a chance to grab his brace just before half-time when he connected with Khuliso Mudau’s cross, but his headed effort went wide of the target and the score was 1-0 to Sundowns at the interval.
Mudau continued to deliver quality crosses into the Galaxy box after the restart and Gift Motupa hit the side-netting after connecting with the 26-year-old right-back’s cross four minutes before the hour mark.
Marks Munyai was introduced by Galaxy head coach Owen Da Gama in the 71st minute as the home side searched for the equalizing goal, but they were struggling to create clear-cut chances.
Masandawana looked threatening whenever they pushed forward and Lebohang Maboe pulled the trigger from the edge of the hosts’ box and his attempt went just over the crossbar with 11 minutes left.
Galaxy had a chance to snatch a late equalizing goal in stoppage time, but somehow Masilake Phohlongo placed his effort just over the crossbar from inside the box, and ultimately, Sundowns ran out 1-0 winners.
Galaxy (0) 0
Sundowns (1) 1 (Shalulile 17′)
Galaxy: Van der Linde, Seedat (Lekay 46′),Msimango, Mokoena (Munyai 71′), Bodibe (Modisane 77′), Mahlangu, Mbunjana, Aubaas, Brooks, Mbatha (Phohlongo 46′), Macuphu (Shozi 84′)
Sundowns: Mweene, Nascimento, Lebusa, Coetzee, Mudau, Modiba (Lakay 75′), Maboe, Jali (Mandela 88′), Mkhuma (Mvala 88′), Shalulile, Motupa (Sirino 74′).