Mamelodi Sundowns eased their way into second position on the log standings after a 2-1 victory over Highlands Park in an Absa Premiership fixture played at the Makhulong Stadium on Tuesday night.
The Pretoria club are now just three points behind log leaders Bidvest Wits.
Sundowns grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck and dominated right from the start. They could have been ahead as early as the fourth minute when Thapelo Morena set up Themba Zwane, but the in-form midfielder’s attempt was deflected wide of goal. A minute later Hlompho Kekana had an opportunity, but his shot was saved by Highlands goalkeeper Tapuwa Kapini.
With Sundowns piling on the pressure, it was only a matter of time before something decisive happened and that was the case as the Pretoria club took 1-0 lead in the 11th minute. Morena’s pace proved to be too hot for the Highlands defence to handle and the speedster dashed in to score.
Moreno then continued to terrorise the Highlands defence and his driving run down the flank created the opening for Zwane to make it 2-0 in the 19th minute. Six minutes later, Morena again threatened as he put Lebogang Maboe into space, but the midfielder’s effort was cleared off the line by a desperate Highlands backline.
But, after being under the cosh for the opening 30 minutes of the match, Highlands finally got into the game. Sundowns defender Mosa Lebusa had to make a timely tackle to prevent Lindokuhle Mbatha from scoring. With the Tembisa side galvanised into action, they managed to pull one back in the 32nd minute through Mbatha. Three minutes later, Mbatha could well have levelled matters but was foiled by Sundowns goalkeeper Denis Onyango.
Five minutes before half-time, Highlands had another great chance to equalise, but Mbatha’s powerful shot thudded against the crossbar.
In the second half, the combination of Morea and Zwane continued to be troublesome for Highlands. The duo regularly prised open the opposition defence but were unable to increase Sundowns’ advantage.
Maboe had another opportunity but failed to make the most of it, while Kekana was prevented from scoring by a fine save from Kapini.
Kapini was again called on in the 72nd minute when Zwane had a glorious chance to score, but the Highlands keeper was equal to the task with a brilliant stop.