Mamelodi Sundowns kept Black Leopards under pressure early on in their PSL contest on Tuesday night and are keeping Orlando Pirates honest in the title race with a 2-1 win.
The Brazilians made the trip to Polokwane after arriving back in the country on the back of a Champions League semi-final first leg defeat in Morocco. The shorter trip up north was far happier though as Sundowns pulled level with Pirates at the top of the PSL table.
Downs remain second in the PSL on goal difference but will know that remaining level with Pirates will not be enough to successfully defend their Premiership title.
A criminal back pass from Leopards defender Jean Munganga, gifted Sundowns the opening goal before the half hour mark. The early pressure on the hosts finally telling.
Leopards Robert Ngambi came close to levelling matters before the break after a delightful ball in by left back Pentjie Zulu but Denis Onyango made a superb save to deny them parity.
Sundowns’ Sibusiso Vilakazi wanted too much time on the ball inside the Leopards area and, crowded out he fired wide when he should have done better.
Downs would make good on their promise to establish a two goal lead, though, when Langerman scored a rare but memorable goal. Morena floated a cross in the Langerman met perfectly to slam it past Ndlovu in the Leopards goal.
Karabo Tshepe slotted a late consolation goal for Black Leopards, whose failure to take anything from the game has left them within range of the bottom two clubs and in danger of the drop.
Sundowns face a future points sanction from the PSL over fielding an ineligible player and have little hope of winning the title if Orlando Pirates are able to win their tow remaining fixtures.
Pirates face Cape Town City on Saturday knowing a win will leave them with one hand on the trophy. Sundowns have their Caf Champions League Semi-final second leg on Saturday and then just three days later face Golden Arrows in their penultimate game on the eve of the national elections.