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Mamelodi Sundowns 1-0 Highlands Park: Masandawana secure late win against Lions of the North

23:21 GMT+4 23/10/2019
Themba Zwane of Mamelodi Sundowns challenged by Mlungisi Mbunjana of Highlands Park, October 2019
Mauricio Affonso's late goal earned the Brazilians a hard-fought victory over the 2019 MTN8 runners-up

Mamelodi Sundowns moved closer to Kaizer Chiefs in the PSL standings after securing a 1-0 win over Highlands Park in Tshwane on Wednesday night.

Pitso Mosimane made two changes to the team which faced and defeated AmaZulu in the Telkom Knockout Cup clash on Sunday.

Kennedy Mweene and Lebohang Maboe made their return to the Masandawana starting line-up as the PSL champions looked to maintain their unbeaten record in the league this season.

On the other hand, Owen Da Gama made only one change to the team which took on and overcame Black Leopards in the Telkom Knockout Cup clash over the weekend.

Sifiso Mbhele replaced fellow full-back Marks Munyai in the starting line-up as the Lions of the North looked to extend their unbeaten run to six matches in the league.

Highlands Park were the better side in the opening exchanges as they exerted pressure on the Sundowns defence and they came very close to scoring.

Mothobi Mvala unleashed a thunderous shot which was brilliantly pushed onto the upright by Masandawana goalkeeper Mweene.

The hosts grew into the match with Hlompho Kekana being allowed time and space to dictate terms from the middle of the park for Mosimane's side.

However, former Sundowns goalkeeper Thela Ngobeni was in great form in the Highlands Park goal as he pulled off two great saves to deny Thapelo Morena and Themba Zwane.

The last chance of the first half fell for Kekana, who fired over the crossbar from close range and the score was 0-0 at the interval between Sundowns, and Highlands.

Highlands Park defended much better after the restart with Sphiwe Msimango working tirelessly at the heart of the visitors' defence.

Mosimane decided to introduce Uruguayan hitman Mauricio Affonso, who was on the scoresheet as Sundowns thumped AmaZulu 5-0 over the weekend.

Affonso almost made an immediate impact as he set-up Morena and the speedy player struck a first time effort which hit the crossbar with Ngobeni well-beaten.

Masandawana launched attacks in the closing stages of the match as they looked to grab a late winning goal.

Affonso proved to be a super-sub as he scored with a powerful left-footed shot in stoppage time to seal Sundowns' 1-0 win over Highlands Park on the night.

The towering centre forward has now scored for Sundowns in debut appearances in the Caf Champions League, PSL and Telkom Knockout Cup.

The narrow win took Sundowns to the second spot on the league standings - two points behind the leaders, Chiefs ahead of their clash on Sunday.

On the other hand, Highlands slipped down to sixth after being leapfrogged by SuperSport United.