Cuthbert Malajila stole the show with a superb brace to lead Mamelodi Sundowns to a 2-0 victory over AmaZulu at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria on Sunday afternoon.
The Zimbabwean striker returned to the starting line-up for the Brazilians to score two second-half goals in the 59th minute and the 67th minute respectively.
The loss banished AmaZulu to the bottom of the table — with the side being the only winless team in the Premiership after losing three and drawing two matches. The Brazilians, on the other hand, returned to winning ways after a string of poor results in recent weeks.
Sundowns entered the match aiming to bounce back from a debilitating 3-0 mauling at the hands of arch-rivals Orlando Pirates.
The Chloorkop-based outfit had endured a disconcerting start to their title defence, having won only once before in beating Moroka Swallows 2-0 a fortnight ago.
The team’s opening three matches resulted in losses to Platinum Stars (2-1) and Ajax Cape Town (1-0) and a draw with Maritzburg United (1-1).
AmaZulu had the defending champions on the back foot in the second minute of the match when Philani Shange forced a splendid save from goalkeeper Kennedy Mweene.
After a string of non-penetrative passes in the midfield, Malajila made a dashing run in the AmaZulu defence and was fouled on the edge of the penalty box by Willem Mwedihanga.
Sundowns’ midfield linchpin Teko Modise from the resultant free-kick curled his shot wide of the goalpost and over the diving Tapuwa Kapini in between the goals.
Minutes later, winger Elias Pelembe had a penalty call after he was brought down, but his call fell on deaf ears as the referee waved play on.
Sundowns captain Surprise Moriri was an influential figure during the match as the veteran combined well with fellow attacking threat Hlompho Kekana in midfield.
Kekana, who was his ever-industrious self in the middle of the pitch, was always looking to unleash one of his trademark powerful strikes from outside the box.
Dangerous AmaZulu striker Bongani Ndulula was kept quiet for much of the encounter as Sundowns’ central defensive pairing of Thabo Nthete and Mario Booysens marked him closely.