TS Galaxy Football Club succumbed to defeat for the first time in the new year at the expense of Mamelodi Sundowns.
The Rockets headed to this blockbuster encounter oozing with confidence following an impressive run of three games without the defeat in 2022.
The Brazilians emerged as 3-0 victors at the splendid Mbombela Stadium on Wednesday night.
Khuliso Mudau, Haashim Domingo and Peter Shalulile were all in the score-sheet for the log leaders.
The Rockets were dealt a major blow at the start of the match when Lindokuhle Mbatha was shown his marching order.
The veteran midfielder was booked in the 3rd minutes after clashing with Mudau.
20 minutes later, Mbatha received his second yellow card for another infringement and this time around with Shalulile.
The Brazilian broke the deadlock in the 19th minute. Mudau finished with aplomb to beat Wensten Van Der Linde hands down between the sticks for the Rockets.
Ethan Brooks was dispossessed around the box and Sundowns castigated the Rockets.
Galaxy threatened to level the matters but Kennedy Mweene was at his best to deny Augustine Kwem who showed a great sense of anticipation as he broke between the lines.
Brooks was sacrificed after 36 minutes. He was replaced by the debutant Aphelele Teto.
The young talent sensation made an instant impact after coming in as substitution for his professional debut.
Sundowns headed to the interval leading by Mudau’s first half scorcher.
The Rockets were without the services of Melusi Buthelezi. The 24-year-netminder has been pivotal at the back in the new year.
He kept three clean sheets on the trot against the likes of Kaizer Chiefs, Swal,lows, and AmaZulu. The Inquthu born keeper is still recovering at home after he was involved in a car hijacking this past weekend in Soweto.
Shane Roberts also started ahead of Mlungisi Mbunjana in the middle of the park.
The Rockets fought gallantly with one man down. After the interval, Galaxy made two changes.
Roberts and Orebotse Mongae made way for Sphiwe Mahlangu and Lifa Hlongwane.
The young Teto was the live wire for Galaxy wthe with the ability to take on the opposition defence and ask some questions to Mweene.
Following a great build-up play in the 61st minute that was orchestrated by Marks Munyai on the right and side, Teto tried his luck from distance with the powerful shot but the Zambian goal-minder was at the right place at the right time to keep the Rockets at bay.
Domingo produced a moment of brilliance to double the lead for Sundowns in the 64th minute.
Despite trailing by two goals and being one man down but the Rockets showed great resilience. Shalulile killed the game off in the 79th minute when he tapped in from the close range following an exquisite cross delivered by Divine Lunga on the left and side.
The defeat moved Galaxy to position 15 on the log with 17 points after 20 games. The club will now lock horns against the struggling Baroka FC side’s in a relegation dog fight in Polokwane on Saturday at Peter Mokaba Stadium.
Mbatha will commenced his two-match suspension while Ebrahim Seedat will make his return.
Wensten Van Der Linde, Pogiso Sanoka, Macbeth Mahlangu, Given Msimango, Marks Munyai, Shane Roberts (Lifa Hlongwane 45), Bathusi Aubaas (Sihle Nduli 69), Brooks (Aphelele Teto 36), Mongae (Sphiwe Mahlangu 45), Mbatha, and Kwem (Wayde Lekay 81).