Mamelodi Sundowns suffered a 1-0 loss against Baroka in their Premier Soccer League (PSL) match on Sunday evening at Dobsonville Stadium.
A first-half goal through Ananias Gebhardt handed the Limpopo outfit the full three points as they moved to the 13th spot with 28 points from 28 matches.
For the reigning PSL champions, Sundowns failed to capitalize on Kaizer Chiefs’ loss to Bidvest Wits on the same day and they are second with 53 points and both have two games to go.
The Tshwane giants came into the clash on the back of two wins and were looking for their third win in a row while coach Pitso Mosimane brought on Andile Jali for injured Rivaldo Coetzee.
Meanwhile, the reigning PSL champions were targeting the top spot following the 1-0 for Wits over Chiefs earlier on Sunday.
For Bakgaga Ba Mphahlele, they missed their goalkeeper and skipper Elvis Chipezeze owing to suspension and he was replaced by Ayanda Dlamini as they looked to evade the relegation axe.
Coming to the match, Dlamini had to come off his line to stop Sphlelele Mkhulise's toe-poke at the near post, but the 28-year-old keeper was equal to the task in the second minute.
In the opposite half, Sundowns stopper Kennedy Mweene nearly conceded after failing to deal with a cross from the right-wing in the eighth minute, as the ball bounced in front of him and his crucial touch saw it going out for a corner.
The hosts enjoyed more time on the ball, spreading passes, but they conceded against the run of play when Gerbhadt beat Mweene at his right corner with a glancing header in the 20th minute.
After 30 minutes of action, defender Motjeka Madisha failed to direct his header into the back of the net as it sailed wide of Dlamini’s right post.
The 36th minute saw Lyle Lakay’s free-kick from a distance going agonizingly wide of Dlamini’s far post, and it only needed a header or a touch in the box to go into the net.
Despite having plenty of the ball, coach Dylan Kerr’s troops stood their ground at the back and went into the tunnel leading by a goal.
As Baroka sat back in their own half, Sundowns were forced to resort to long balls into the area and Gaston Sirino failed to hit the target when a pass from Lakay fell for him at the far post in the 51st minute.
A long pass from skipper Hlompho Kekana picked up Sirino on the edge of the area, yet the Uruguayan could not produce a save from Dlamini.
Substitute Sibusiso Vilakazi had to leave the field after he was the victim of a dangerous tackle from Tshidiso Patjie, and Mosimane introduced Lebohang Maboe in the 63rd minute.
The Brazilians showed a sense of urgency in the 73rd minute and were awarded a set-piece on the edge of the box when Promise Mkhuma was fouled, but Lakay’s attempt was blocked by the wall.
Frustrations mounted for the Tshwane outfit as Baroka continued to employ time-wasting tactics in the dying stages of the contest.
Six minutes were added after regulation time, Sundowns continued to attack and Sirino saw his well-struck shot punched over the crossbar by Dlamini as the Limpopo team walked away with maximum points to ease their relegation concerns.