Johannesburg - League champions Mamelodi Sundowns kept the pressure on log leaders Kaizer Chiefs with a 2-0 Absa Premiership win over Free State Stars at the Charles Mopeli Stadium on Saturday night.
Zimbabwe internationals Cuthbert Malajila and Khama Billiat netted for Sundowns and made the difference on a night where Sundowns could have scored plenty more.
Stars goalkeeper Johnny Mathole made several good saves while the league champions also lacked the finishing touch, which gave Stars some hope right until the end, but they found Dennis Onyango in equally good form in goal for the visitors.
The home team had the best scoring chance of the opening 25 minutes when Abdul Basit turned inside the danger area and toe poked a shot at goal, but Dennis Onyango managed to parry the ball into safety.
Then on the other end of the field, Danny Venter found space on the edge of the area and his driven shot was saved by the strong arm of Onyango.
Then it was the turn of Mathole to make a good save when he got down to his left to turn away Anthony Laffor’s shot from just outside the danger area on the half hour mark.
Mathole made another good save to deny Khama Billiat from close range before Sundowns took the lead as Cuthbert Malajila netted with a looping cross-goal header at the far post.
Sundowns saw a penalty shout turned down after 59 minutes when Malajila looked to have been held back and pushed over as he broke through on goal, but the referee said no.
Sundowns then had a goal ruled out for offside before Mashaba was sent off in the 62nd minute when he left his studs showing in a late challenge on goalkeeper Mathole.
Tebogo Langerman powered his shot onto the crossbar a few moments before Billiat made it 2-0 with a good low shot with his left foot from the edge of the 18 area.