Mamelodi Sundowns claimed a narrow 1-0 win over TS Galaxy at Mbombela Stadium on Sunday to put themselves within touching distance of the DStv Premiership title.
Siphelele Mkhulise, Themba Zwane and Thapelo Morena missed out for Sundowns, while Galaxy dropped Luckyboy Mokoena, Wayde Lekay, Sihle Nduli, Justice Figuareido and Marlon Heugh to the bench.
Sundowns took the lead in the 17th minute. Promise Mkhuma delivered a corner into the box, Macbeth Mahlangu and Tumelo Bodibe failed to clear and Peter Shalulile reacted fastest to head the bouncing ball past Westen van der Linde.
Soon after, Lyle Akay’s outswinging corner from the left-hand side to the near post was met by the head of Mosa Lebusa but it went inches wide of the near post.
The Rockets won a penalty on the half-hour mark when Bathusi Aubaas’ shot struck the arm of Mosa Lebusa in the box and the referee pointed to the spot. Mbatha stepped up but Kennedy Mweene guessed right to his right to make an excellent save.
Khuliso Mudau’s ball in from the right side in to the near post for Shalulile was glanced narrowly wide of the far corner by the Namibian marksman five minutes before the break.
Chances were few and far between in the second stanza. Motupa looked to find Shalulile in the 70th minute with a cross in from the right, but the defender cleared before it reached the league’s second-highest goalscorer.
With ten minutes to go Lebohang Maboe’s snapshot sailed over the bar. Then Mudau struck over the bar from the angle on the edge of the box on the right-hand side.
Owen da Gama’s side had the last opportunity of the match when Gaona Modisane crossed in from the left-hand side and Wayde Lekay rose highest but headed wide of the left-hand upright.
In the end, the men from Chloorkop were able to manage the game comfortably to inch ever-closer to a record-breaking fourth successive title.
Confirmed line ups:
Galaxy: Van der Linde, Bodibe, M. Mahlangu, Msimango, Seedat, Mokoena, Brooks, Mbunjana, Aubaas, Mbatha, Macuphu.
Subs: Buthelezi, Shozi, Lekay, Munyai, Modisane, S. Mahlangu, Phohlongo, Matlala, Letsholonyane.
Sundowns: Mweene, Nascimento, Lebusa, Coetzee, Mudau, Modiba, Maboe, Jali, Mkhuma, Shalulile, Motupa.
Subs: Goss, Affonso, Sirino, B.Onyango, Lakay, Morena, Domingo, Vilakazi, Mvala.