SuperSport United rose up the league standings after securing a 2-0 win over Mamelodi Sundowns, who dropped valuable points in their fight for the Premier Soccer League (PSL) title as goals by Grant Kekana and Ghampani Lungu gave Matsatsantsa Tshwane Derby bragging rights.
Sundowns were looking to narrow log leaders Orlando Pirates’ lead after the Soweto giants recently opened up a six-point gap at the top.
Masandawana had a dominant record against SuperSport having not lost to their rivals in the league since 2013.
This saw SuperSport, who still had slim hopes of winning the league, naming a line-up led by the likes of joint top scorer Mxolisi Macuphu alongside Bradley Grobler, while on loan Sundowns winger George Lebese was handed a start against his parent club.
Meanwhile, Sundowns have had their confidence boosted following their Caf Champions League progression at the expense of giants Al Ahly, and Phakamani Mahlambi alongside Emiliano Tade had tough boots to fill with Lebohang Maboe and Gaston Sirino not part of the matchday squad.
With so much at stake in the Derby, the clash had a rather tame start due to the chess battle taking place in the middle of the park with two sets of quality midfielders vying for possession of the ball.
However, the game’s first chance would eventually fall to Tade with 15 minutes played, but the Argentine was unable to really test Ronwen Williams with his chip after making a smart turn.
Almost immediately at the other end, Aubrey Modiba also called Kennedy Mweene into the action with a curling shot from distance which was dealt aptly by the Zambian who stood in for Denis Onyango.
56.7% of Sundowns goals have come within the opening 30 minutes of their respective games this season, but without top scorer Maboe, the Tshwane giants did little to trouble Williams and the SuperSport backline as they were relegated to efforts from outside the area.
That was until the 25th minute when Sundowns looked to up the ante, and a mistake at the back almost saw Tade, who was arguably the home side’s most threatening player squander an opportunity from inside the box – scuffing his effort wide of Williams’ goals.
Despite Sundowns looking the more threatening and likelier to score, poor marking at the back from a corner saw SuperSport's Grant Kekana find the back of the net.
The full-back lost his marker and made no mistake with his header on the half-hour mark, giving SuperSport an unexpected advantage.
It was only the 19th goal conceded this season by Pitso Mosimane’s men, and the mentor would have been frustrated by the ease in which his side conceded as they went into the interval behind.
The second half saw Sundowns come out of the gate with a lot more intent and they had an early chance with Mahlambi using his pace to outrun the opposition defender, only for an alert Williams to race off his line and clear the danger.
It was a relative onslaught by Sundowns on the away side’s goal at Loftus Versfeld Stadium, but to SuperSport’s credit, they remained resolute and looked to pick away at the Brazilians’ mistakes.
But Sundowns were unwavering and continued to have a go at the SuperSport goal with Tade heading straight at Williams from a dangerous cross just before the hour mark.
With Sundowns pushing men upfront they were leaving themselves vulnerable at the back especially as SuperSport were using the diagonal ball to transition from defence to attack, and Sundowns needed Mweene to be at his best as he dived to his right to keep out a shot from Grobler inside the box.
Sundowns were desperate for a win and Mosimane threw on the attacking duo of Sibusiso Vilakazi and Jeremy Brockie, who was brought on for the rather erratic Mahlambi.
The duo though failed to find their footing and it was another substitute, on the side of SuperSport, who delivered the killer blow.
Grobler put the ball on a plate for Lungu and he made no mistake as he rifled his effort into the top corner ending any hope of a Sundowns comeback.
It was just Sundowns’ fourth defeat of the season and the eighth time they failed to score this season.