Leaders Bidvest Wits ground out a 1-0 win over Maritzburg United in a top-versus-bottom Premiership match Friday to move five points clear of their nearest rivals.
Substitute Lehlohonolo Majoro scored the only goal after 79 minutes at the 5,000-seat Milpark Stadium inside a Johannesburg university campus.
Majoro outsprinted two Maritzburg defenders to a perfectly weighted through ball, rounded Ghana goalkeeper Richard Ofori and pushed the ball into the net from a tight angle.
The striker, whose previous clubs include South African giants Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates, could have scored again soon after but Ofori saved his penalty kick.
Wits have 37 points with 11 matches to play as they seek a second title within three seasons after failing to win the league in 96 years since the club was formed.
Closest challengers Orlando Pirates (32 points) and defending champions Mamelodi Sundowns (31) have matches in hand but, unlike Wits, are also involved in the CAF Champions League.
“Securing the three points was what mattered most,” said Gavin Hunt as he seeks a fifth Premiership title as a coach after three at SuperSport United and one with Wits.
“Had we taken some early scoring chances the path to victory would have been much smoother, but a failure to convert pressure into goals has plagued us all season.
“We could not retain possession in the final third until I introduced Elias Pelembe. He may be getting on in years but he certainly knows how to keep the ball until support arrives.”
Playing under new coach Eric Tinkler for the first time, Maritzburg suffered their 10th defeat of the season, with eight of the losses being by single-goal margins.
“When you are down lady luck tends to jilt you — we had a good chance to break the deadlock just before Wits scored,” lamented the former Wits and South Africa midfielder.
Turk Mushin Ertugral quit this week after just five matches in charge — he lost four league games and Maritzburg were eliminated from the South African FA Cup after a penalty shootout.