Athlone - SuperSport United have crashed to an unexpected defeat in Cape Town, as home side Santos ends the year on a high note.
Overall, the sides probably created the same number of scoring opportunities in the match, but Santos looked the more polished in the striking zone.
The teams battled to impose their playing patterns on the match in the first quarter, although SuperSport looked the more penetrative in the face of a hestitant Santos defence.
However, once Santos' midfield gained the initiative, they produced a few defence-splitting passes which their front-runners did well to fend off.
This ploy caused problems for the visiting Matsatsantsa and after they managed to thwart a 17th-minute scoring effort by Santos striker Orlin Powell, they were cruelly exposed by a strong-running Vuyisile Wana who rounded off splendidly to give The People’s Team the lead two minutes later (1-0).
On two occasions, though, they were denied by excellent saves by Santos 'keeper Tshepo Motsoeneng.
At the other end, SuperSport goalkeeper Wayne Brown was equally efficient, making two fines saves as the match moved towards the halftime break.
There was a far greater sense of urgency in SuperSport's ranks after the break and their midfield showed far more enterprise.
The Santos defence managed to contain SuperSport's numerous early second-half sorties, none of which were particularly threatening.
Santos did, however, mount a telling counter-attack just on the hour and Wana was adjudged to be fouled in the opposition's penalty area. Santos striker Erwin Isaacs stepped up and buried the penalty in the back of the SuperSport net to secure a 2-0 lead for his side.
Despite their 2-0 setback, there was no shortage of commitment from SuperSport as they went in search of a goal, and their efforts were rewarded by an 85th-minute goal by Anthony Laffor who was left unmarked after a goalmouth cross went unchecked by the Santos defence.
At the close, Brown did well to hold on to the ball to deny Santos a third goal, moments before end of the match.