Peter Shalulile struck late to earn Mamelodi Sundowns a 2-1 Premier Soccer League victory over Stellenbosch at Danie Craven Stadium on Saturday.
After Stanley Dimgba thrust Stellies ahead in the 33rd minute, Gaston Sirino hit back six minutes into the second half before Shalulile headed in the winner deep into injury time to help Sundowns open a four-point gap at the top of the PSL standings as they bid for a fourth straight league title.
Themba Zwane returned to the Sundowns starting line-up after sitting on the bench the entire Nedbank Cup Last-16 match against Polokwane City on Wednesday.
Defender Rushine de Reuck started a second straight game but was making his first PSL start for Sundowns.
Sundowns started well with Sirino having a penalty appeal turned down in the second minute after he appeared to be fouled inside the box by Mogamad De Goede.
Some persistent attacking by Sundowns was met by some spirited defending by Stellenbosch, especially in the opening 10 minutes.
But the hosts tried to get themselves into the game with Dimgba narrowly missing the target with a turn-and-shoot effort on 17 minutes.
Stellies appeared to have grown in confidence with Ashley du Preez also coming close a minute later before Dimgba was back against to test Denis Onyango in goal for Masandawana.
Dimgba was causing all sorts of problems for Lyle Lakay on the Stellenbosch right flank and on a number of occasions it took Ricardo Nascimento to stop him.
But Lakay came in handy when he deflected a Dean van Rooyen shot in the 28th minute off target.
It finally paid off for Dimgba when Sundowns poorly cleared a corner kick and the ball fell for Du Preez, and after he played in the Nigerian, Onyango had no chance to stop his powerful left-footed shot just after the half-hour mark.
The Brazilians tried to hit back shortly after conceding but Sirino found Stellenbosch goalkeeper Sage Stephens uncompromising to save his low shot.
The hosts did well to contain Sundowns and even had Nathan Sinkala shooting just over bar a minute before half-time.
Four minutes into the second half, speedy Du Preez missed the target while only faced with Onyango as Nascimento battled to stop him.
But Sirino restored parity on 51 minutes when he finished after being set up by Shalulile.
The affair remained balanced and as the match appeared headed for a share of spoils, Shalulile struck deep into injury time with a fine header off an Aubrey Modiba cross.