Bidvest Wits squandered a chance to regain the South African Premiership lead when they crashed 2-0 away to AmaZulu Saturday and had captain Thulani Hlatshwayo red-carded.
A win for the Johannesburg club formed 98 years ago would have lifted them one point above Orlando Pirates and Mamelodi Sundowns in a thrilling title race.
But after a goalless opening half, the visitors fell behind to a Bonginkosi Ntuli goal and Zimbabwean Ovidy Karuru added a second nine minutes from time.
Defender Hlatshwayo, who also skippers the national team, was dismissed after a second yellow card in Indian Ocean port city Durban.
Wits’ Gavin Hunt, chasing a record fifth Premiership title as a coach, once again blamed his defence as the 2017 champions suffered a seventh loss in 23 matches.
“We also conceded a goal just after half-time last weekend,” he said, recalling a second-half collapse that ended with a 3-2 home defeat by fellow title contenders Cape Town City.
“Our defence includes players with lots of national team experience and I expect better from them. We are conceding far too many soft goals.”
The result confirmed how unpredictable mid-table AmaZulu are — often mastering the best clubs in the league only to struggle against those beneath them in the table.
Polokwane City and Kaizer Chiefs rose one place each to fifth and sixth respectively after home victories over lower-placed opponents.
Goals from Ghanaian Mohamed Anas, who once went viral after thanking his wife and girlfriend in a TV interview, and Zimbabwean Charlton Mashumba gave City a 2-0 win over Golden Arrows.
Dumisani Zuma netted on 50 minutes in Soweto as Chiefs won 1-0 against Maritzburg United, who remain last, three points below Chippa United having played one match more.
The bottom club are relegated and the second-last side go into play-offs with two second division sides with one Premiership place up for grabs.
League Cup trophy-holders Baroka are another club in trouble, just one point above the danger zone, after surrendering the lead in a 2-1 defeat at mid-table Highlands Park.
All the goals came from headers with Mduduzi Mdantsane putting Baroka in front, Sello Motsepe levelling on the stroke of half-time and Mothobi Mvala scoring the 52nd-minute winner.