Tshediso Patjie scored as promoted Sekhukhune United snatched a 1-0 win at SuperSport United on Sunday and rise to second in the DStv Premiership.
The match-winner came three minutes from the end of regular time when two passes freed Patjie to beat national team goalkeeper Ronwen Williams from close range.
Both teams were reduced to 10 men within 15 minutes of the kick-off with Vusimuzi Mncube of Sekhukhune and debutant Thalente Mbatha of SuperSport United red-carded for dangerous tackles.
“A quality finish by Tshediso,” said TV analyst Mark Williams, whose goals won South Africa a first and so far only Africa Cup of Nations title 25 years ago.
A dramatic climax contrasted with what went before as 72 minutes had elapsed under a grey sky at Lucas ‘Masterpieces’ Moripe Stadium before Sekhukhune United had the first goal attempt on target.
Nkanyiso Madonsela burst through only to be foiled by a brilliant one-hand save from Williams, who almost immediately excelled again by pushing away a header from former Zimbabwe star Willard Katsande.
SuperSport United were woeful in the final third, managing just one attempt on target, which barely troubled Zambian goalkeeper Toaster Nsabata.
“The red cards had a significant effect with both sides becoming extra cautious,” said Sekhukhune coach Macdonald Makhubedu.
“Our plan was to force SuperSport wide in the belief that the centre-backs could handle any crosses, and it worked.”
SuperSport coach and former Zimbabwe captain Kaitano Tembo praised Sekhukhune United for “working tirelessly off the ball and counter-attacking with menace”.
Sekhukhune were promoted this season after winning the GladAfrica Championship and have collected 23 points from 13 matches, eight less than leaders and title-holders Mamelodi Sundowns.
Royal AM, Kaizer Chiefs and Stellenbosch FC share third place on 22 points in the richest African league with a R15 million first prize.
SuperSport United and Orlando Pirates with 19 points each and Golden Arrows on 18 complete the top half of the table as the halfway stage of the season looms.
– The South African