Mamelodi Sundowns opened a six-point gap at the top of the Premier Soccer League table after coming from behind to record a 3-1 win over Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila at Peter Mokaba Stadium on Tuesday.
It was an afternoon dominated by headed goals as Thembisani Nevhulamba thrust TTM ahead in the 18th minute,before Rivaldo Coetzee replied for Sundowns in the first half stoppage time.
The Brazilians then went in front through Sphelele Mkhulise on 69 minutes, and then handed themselves victory assurance nine minutes from fulltime via substitute Sibusiso Vilakazi.
They could have won by a wider margin but Gaston Sirino missed from the penalty spot in the second half.
Going into this match on the backdrop of a two-match winless run including being held 1-1 by basement side Black Leopards before last weekend’s 0-0 Caf Champions League draw against Al Hilal, Sundowns rose to post a convincing victory.
All Sundowns’ scorers were finding the back of the net for the first time this season as they inflicted agony on TTM how have now lost their last three games and remain second from the bottom.
The Brazilians now have 40 points ahead of second-placed Golden Arrows as they stay on course for a fourth straight league title.
Sundowns had a penalty appeal turned down following what looked like a handball by TTM’s captain Lehlohonolo Nonyane in the second minute.
The hosts’ first realistic chance at goal came after 11 minutes when Nevhulamba was blocked by Rushine de Reuck from executing a volley while inside the box.
It needed seven more minutes for Nevhulamba to get it right when he took advantage from some poor marking by Sundowns to connect with his head a delivery from Thabo Mnyamane and beat Denis Onyango.
The Brazilians then immediately tried to hit back but Themba Zwane’s curler from the edge of the box went just over the bar while shortly after, Sirino poorly executed a shot while only facing Washington Arubi in goal for Tshakhuma.
Masandawana’s loanee to TTM Nicholus Lukhubeni nearly punished his parent club but an alert Onyango was forced to impressively save the powerful shot before again blocking Mnyamane’s effort from close range.
At the other end just before the half hour mark, Arubi was on hand to deny Thapelo Morena in a one-on-one situation.
The contest appeared to be an affair between goalkeepers as Arubi was called to repel Peter Shalulile’s turn and shoot effort before the Zimbabwean gloveman was back against to brilliantly parry Rushine de Reuck’s shot right on the goal line four minutes before halftime.
Coetzee then beat the halftime whistle when he grabbed his first ever goal in Sundowns colours by heading in off a corner kick from Sirino and finally breach Arubi’s goal.
Following a slow start to the second half, Nonyane made a crucial intervention when he cleared the ball off the line of a yawning goal after Sirino had beaten Arubi with a lob.
Then on the 58 minute, Morena shot just wide in what was a good opportunity for Sundowns to claim the lead before Arubi saved Lyle Lakay’s powerful shot.
Another chance went begging for Sundowns’ when Sirino skied his effort from the penalty sport after Nonyane had fouled Themba Zwane inside the box on the hour mark.
But Mkhulise made amends for the Brazilians in the 69th minute when he beat Arubi by heading in a cross from Lakay.
With 12 minutes to go, Mnanyame was denied by the woodwork from a well-struck freekick.
But things crumbled for TTM when Vilakazi rose from the bench to tap in a cross from Shalulile to put the contest beyond the reach of the hosts.