Themba Zwane’s second-half goal helped Mamelodi Sundowns to finally bag the full three points when they beat Golden Arrows 1-0 on Monday evening at Dobsonville Stadium.
Substitute Zwane came on for Gaston Sirino and the move paid dividends for the hosts as the creative midfielder finished a brilliant pass from Lebohang Maboe in the 90th minute.
In the wake of the win, the Brazilians remain second on the log table with 50 points, three points behind next opponents Kaizer Chiefs, and have four matches to complete the season whilst Aabafana Besthende has 33 points at number 11.
Sundowns went to the clash coming from a string of disappointing results, their latest being the 2-2 draw against Maritzburg United on Friday night.
For the visiting Arrows, the Durban-based outfit succumbed to a loss at the hands of Black Leopards and were gunning for a shock against the reigning league champions.
Coach Pitso Mosimane missed defender Ricardo Nascimento through suspension and made changes in the starting eleven where goalkeeper Kennedy Mweene started between the goalposts, replacing Denis Onyango.
The Tshwane giants started well with their short passing game and had two half-chances in the opening minutes of the clash where Phakamani Mahlambi saw his half-volley sailing over the crossbar and Ali Meza attempted an acrobatic kick – he also failed to hit the target.
Arrows started to come out of the blocks in the 13th minute after doing a lot of defending to contain their hosts, but their passes into the final third could not find target Knox Mutizwa.
In the 22nd minute, Sundowns were awarded a free-kick on the left-wing and Sirino opted to go for the near post, and his delivery could only hit the side of the net.
Arrows keeper Sifiso Mlungwana denied the hosts from a close-range header through Rivaldo Coetzee when he punched the ball away for a corner kick in the 30th minute.
Six minutes later, coach Steve Komphela watched his men holding their own in the heart of the park, and from an interchange of passes, Seth Parusnath was set up but his shot sailed over Mweene’s posts.
There were no goals at half-time but the reigning champions continued attacking in the second stanza and Mahlambi’s right-footed attempt produced a superb save from Mlungwana in the 46th minute.
In the 51st minute, Ntsako Makhubela failed to capitalize and break the deadlock when Mweene spilled the ball in the box, but the midfielder’s rushed effort went wide.
Arrows frustrated the likes of Sirino and skipper Hlompho Kekana after 60 minutes of action where they remained solid and compact, not allowing the host to find their passes behind the defence.
But in the 66th minute, Mosimane introduced Zwane for the Uruguayan attacker, and Mahlambi was pulled off for Keletso Makgalwa.
On the other hand, Komphela turned to Lerato Lamola but it was Matome Mathiane who denied Sundowns to clear Lyle Lakay’s inswinging set-piece which sailed across the goal with 15 minutes to go.
Sundowns displayed a sense of urgency in the final five minutes but still struggled to break down a resolute Arrows defence.
However, Arrows were sloppy at the back and Maboe picked up Zwane who was running into the box before the Bafana Bafana midfielder slotted home to beat Mlungwana with a low shot, making it 1-0 for the hosts as they clinched all three points.