Themba Zwane of Mamelodi Sundowns and Siyabonga Nhlapo of SuperSport United during the Absa Premiership match between SuperSport United and Mamelodi Sundowns at Lucas Moripe Stadium in Pretoria, January 19 2020. Picture: LEFTY SHIVAMBU/GALLO IMAGES
Themba Zwane of Mamelodi Sundowns and Siyabonga Nhlapo of SuperSport United during the Absa Premiership match between SuperSport United and Mamelodi Sundowns at Lucas Moripe Stadium in Pretoria, January 19 2020. Picture: LEFTY SHIVAMBU/GALLO IMAGES

Mamelodi Sundowns narrowed the gap on log leaders Kaizer Chiefs to seven points after their  2-1 win over SuperSport United at Lucas Moripe Stadium in Pretoria on Sunday.

Sundowns’ goals were scored by strikers Themba Zwane and Thapelo Morena, while United’s consolation was put away by captain Dean Furman from the penalty spot.

Sundowns now have 35 points from 18 matches, the same as Chiefs, while this defeat leaves United in third spot with 31 points from 19 matches.

United’s position on the standings is seriously threatened by Bidvest Wits and Orlando Pirates, who are placed fourth and fifth respectively and are tied on 30 points.

The Brazilians have also increased their dominance over United as they registered their 11th win over their neighbours in 13 encounters, with the other two matches ending in a draw and a win for Matsatsantsa.

Sundowns now shift their attention to the Caf Champions League this weekend when they travel to Angola for a tricky clash against Petro de Luanda, looking to maintain their position at the top of Group C.

United’s next match is against Chippa United at home on Friday. Their mission will be to keep a clear distance between themselves and Wits and Pirates, who are breathing down their neck.

Both Sundowns and SuperSport failed to create decent chances, with most of the play  in the midfield, where Andile Jali and Hlompho Kekana battled with Furman and Sipho Mbule.

United coach Kaitano Tembo started the match with an interesting formation of Clayton Daniels, Grant Kekana and Luke Fleurs at the back,  joined by Onismor Bhasera when they defended.

Tembo must have taken the risk of playing three in his defence because he knew Sundowns did not have an outright striker, attacking instead through Sibusiso Vilakazi, Zwane and Gaston Sirino. 

On the other hand, Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane welcomed influential midfielder Zwane back to the starting line-up after he missed the midweek 1-0 loss to Pirates due to suspension.

Zwane showed why he was so badly missed by Sundowns against Pirates, opening the scoring on the half-hour mark when he found the back of the net after a mix-up in the United penalty box.

United drew level after 54 minutes through Furman from the penalty spot after Jali was judged by referee Eugene Mdluli to have hacked Kudakwashe Mahachi in the box.

Sundowns regained the lead in the 65th minute through Morena connecting with precision  with Kekana’s cross from the right flank to give Ronwen Williams in goal no chance.