Pretoria – Anthony Laffor scored his first goal of the season to help Mamelodi Sundowns down 10-man Golden Arrows 2-0 in a Premiership clash at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria on Wednesday.
Laffor doubled the hosts' lead shortly after half-time, after Khama Billiat had put Sundowns ahead with his superb 10th minute header, to send the Brazilians back up to second in the league standings.
The Pretoria outfit capitalised on their cross-town neighbours SuperSport United's slip, as Matsatsantsa relinquished second spot following a 1-0 defeat to log-leading Kaizer Chiefs in a simultaneous fixture in Polokwane.
Sundowns dominated early possession and went on the offensive from the opening whistle, as Billiat benefited from a good run by Bryce Moon, who delivered an accurate cross for the unmarked Zimbabwe international.
Billiat rose well and headed goalwards, as the ball sailed into the top corner, breaking the deadlock after just 10 minutes.
A frustrating rest of the half followed, as Arrows looked more comfortable with the ball and Sundowns failed to break down their visitors' defensive lines, resulting in a distinct lack of action.
Leading at the break, Sundowns looked to get off to a positive start after the interval and within seconds of substitute Laffor coming on for Katlego Mashego, the Liberian slotted home on 54 minutes.
Teko Modise released Laffor on the on halfway line and the tall winger never looked back, making a driving run into the area, before laying off a cross and making his way to the back post, where he received a loose ball and netted the Brazilian's second.
Things went from bad to worse for the visitors from the coast, as Manti Moholo – in his first appearance for Arrows since joining on loan from Orlando Pirates – was shown a second yellow card after the hour mark, reducing the Durban outfit to 10 men with half-an-hour still to play.
The home side could have added to their tally, with Laffor blazing narrowly over the mark, while Elias Pelembe's long-range effort rattled the crossbar and bounced clear.
With time running out, chances fell to Modise, Billiat and company, but none were able to add to the cushion, with Arrows looking helpless due to their numerical disadvantage in the middle of the park.
There was no respite for Abafana Bes’thende, who suffered their sixth straight defeat, keeping them rooted to the foot of the table and favourites to get axed from the country's top-tier at the end of the season. – Sapa