SuperSport United had to rely on a solid defence against a determined Highlands Park outfit to emerge 2-0 winners at Makhulong Stadium in the Absa Premiership on Sunday.
First half goals from Aubrey Modiba and Bradley Grobler allowed Matsatsantsa to escape with the victory despite spending the majority of the second half on the back foot.
The win lifts SuperSport up into third in the Premiership standings, level on points with Orlando Pirates but above them thanks to goal difference.
They are also only eight points behind league leaders Kaizer Chiefs with eight games of the season left to give them an outside, if slightly unrealistic, chance of challenging for the title.
The result leaves the Lions of the North in eighth in the standings and vulnerable to dropping out of the top 8 if they don't turn their form around soon.
The match began in very tentative fashion, with neither side wanting to get caught by the counter-attack.
Clayton Daniels was needed a couple of times early on to use his skill in the air to head away two dangerous crosses before they could find an attacker.
Mothobi Mvala also sent a long-range effort narrowly over the bar around the quarter-hour mark as SuperSport struggled to get into the game.
However, that all changed in the 22nd minute when Highlands Park pushed a little too high up the pitch and they were able to launch a counter-attack. Guily Manziba played Modiba in behind the defence with a lovely ball and the midfielder took the finish well to put his side ahead against the run of play.
The goal definitely rocked the home side somewhat and the rest of the first half was all SuperSport United.
Marlon Heugh did fantastically to block a close-range Grobler shot before Dean Furman hit a stinging drive just over the bar.
They managed to breach Highlands Park's defence again in the 43rd minute when Grobler rose highest to head home a Sipho Mbule corner to make it 2-0.
The Lions of the North threw everything forward in search of a way back into the game in the second half but some superb defending, coupled with an excellent goalkeeping performance by Ronwen Williams, kept them at bay.
Chance after chance came flying in, after only registering five shots in the first half, they ended the match with 16 - even though only four of them were on target and this was their major downfall of the afternoon.
SuperSport finished the match with two goals from just three shots on target and it was that ruthlessness that was the difference between the two sides on the day. Regardless, this is going to feel like one that got away for Highlands Park.
- TEAMtalk media