A Themba Zwane goal gave Mamelodi Sundowns a 1-0 win at Stellenbosch Wednesday that closed the gap behind Absa Premiership leaders Kaizer Chiefs to four points.
The midfielder netted after nine minutes for the defending champions when Stellenbosch surrendered possession in their half following a poor first touch by Tanzanian Ally Msengi.
But Sundowns, who are chasing a title hat-trick, had to hang on during the closing 15 minutes with 10 men after left-back Tebogo Langerman limped off at Athlone Stadium in Cape Town.
The defender could not be replaced as the Pretoria-based visiting team had already made three substitutions.
Chiefs have 48 points from 22 matches and record nine-time champions Sundowns 44 from 21, setting the stage for a possible title-deciding clash between them in Soweto on April 15.
"Cape Town is never an easy place to come and win so we did well to collect maximum points," said Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane.
"The (CAF Champions League) match against Al Ahly last Saturday took a lot out of us and were very tired toward the end.
"We did not have the legs, but we did have the heart to hang on for three precious points. Our class and experience played key roles."
Meanwhile, sixth-place Bidvest Wits put a poor run behind by defeating bottom club Black Leopards 1-0 in Johannesburg through a goal from Zimbabwean Terrence Dzvukamanja.
The match-winner came on 30 minutes with Dzvukamanja timing his advance perfectly in the penalty area to nod a cross past goalkeeper Rotshidzwa Muleka.
Former champions Wits had looked set to challenge Chiefs for the title before poor recent results yielded a meagre five points from a possible 18.
The Premiership takes a break this weekend so that the South African FA Cup quarter-finals can be staged with the visit of Sundowns to Highlands Park the standout fixture.