Mamelodi Sundowns overpowered a limp Bidvest Wits attack in a 2-0 Absa Premiership victory at Loftus Stadium on Saturday to take full control of the title race.
After a constrictive opening period during which neither side could create any telling chances to score, the deadlock was finally broken via a set-piece.
Hlompho Kekana sent a brilliant, dipping direct free-kick over the wall and into the bottom-right corner of the net from the edge of the area to give Sundowns the lead on the stroke of 39 minutes.
Denis Onyango had gone off with a knee ligament injury in the 23rd minute and was replaced by Wayne Sandilands, while Gabadinho Mhango, Percy Tau and Yannick Zakri had half-chances to score but could not capitalise.
Zakri had a big penalty appeal waved away by referee Thando Ndzandzeka in the fourth minute of first-half stoppage time when Sifiso Hlanti tackled him from behind in the area, just about getting a touch to the ball.
In the second half Wits pushed as much as they could for an equaliser but came up against an organised Sundowns team and struggled to create clear chances.
The best of those fell for Cuthbert Malajila in the 87th minute but Sandilands produced a brilliant, point-blank save to keep the ball out when a goal looked certain.
Sundowns then hit Wits on a quick counter-attack in the second minute of stoppage time when Sibusiso Vilakazi released Tau down the right, who calmly drew Darren Keet out of goal before laying it back to Vilakazi for a tap-in.
The result moves Sundowns up to third, two points behind Wits with three games in hand.