Mamelodi Sundowns continued their dominance over Orlando Pirates as they secured a 2-0 victory in a PSL encounter that took place at Orlando Stadium on Saturday, with Peter Shalulile netting both goals for the reigning champions.
The reigning PSL Footballer of the Year grabbed a second-half brace to inspire Masandawana to their fourth successive victory over the Buccaneers.
Deon Hotto and Terrence Dzvukamanja were recalled to the starting line-up as co-interim coaches Fadlu Davids and Mandla Ncekazi made two changes to the team which faced and claimed a come-from-behind 3-1 victory over Chippa United last weekend.
On the other hand, Thabiso Kutumela made his first start for Sundowns, with co-coach Manqoba Mngqithi and fellow co-coach Rhulani Mokwena making one change to the side which that took on TS Galaxy and secured a 3-0 win six days ago.
Sundowns controlled most of the possession with two former Pirates players, Kutumela and Andile Jali seeing a lot of the ball in the hosts' half. The duo was involved when the first real chance of the match was created.
Jali set-up an unmarked Kutumela on the edge of the box and the diminutive striker unleashed a rasping shot that went inches wide of goalkeeper Siyabonga Mpontshane's left upright and the hosts breathed a sigh of relief.
This served as a wake-up call for the Buccaneers, who were playing on the counter, and they were able to penetrate the Masandawana defence in the right flank, but keeper Denis Onyango produced a fine low save to deny Bandile Shandu.
Kutumela, who seemed determined to score for the second time against Pirates in his career, burst into the opposition's box from the left, but his low shot was well saved by Mpontshane and the score was 0-0 at the interval.
The hard-running marksman continued to torment the Bucs defence with his dangerous runs in the second-half and he grabbed an assist after a brilliant run as he outpaced his marker Goodman Mosele, who had given away possession.
Kutumela then played a low cross for an unmarked Peter Shalulile, who made no mistake as he beat Mpontshane hands down with a thunderous shot to hand Sundowns a 1-0 lead in the 54th minute - making it three goals in three consecutive matches against Pirates.
The Buccaneers had to find a way to level matters and they came close to scoring when Vincent Pule's cross was deflected towards goal by Rushine De Reuck, but Onyango, who is yet to concede this season, pulled off a sensational save.
The Pirates technical team decided to introduce Thabang Monare as they refreshed their midfield, but the 32-year-old player made a costly error as he gave the ball away in his own half and he was punished by the ruthless visitors.
Lyle Lakay then set up Shalulile with a great cross, and the Namibia international beat Mpontshane from close range with a brilliant finish to make it 2-0 to Sundowns 18 minutes left on the clock - completing his brace in the process.
The momentum was Pirates in the latter stages of the game, but Onyango was determined to keep a clean sheet on the day as he produced two incredible saves to deny Tshegofatso Mabasa and Kabelo Dlamini to ensure that the game ended in a 2-0 win in favour of Sundowns.
The victory saw Sundowns open a five-point gap at the top of the league standings ahead of their clash with Lamontville Golden Arrows in the MTN8 game on Tuesday.
While Pirates, who are placed fourth on the league table, are scheduled to take on Cape Town City in a PSL match on October 2.