Thabiso Kutumela scored a 92nd-minute penalty to lead Maritzburg United to a 1-0 win over Stellenbosch FC in a 2020-21 DStv Premiership match at the Danie Craven Stadium on Tuesday.
Victory, which eases their relegation fears, moved the Team of Choice within a point of 12th-placed Stellies, but having still played two games less than their rivals.
The hosts were unable to convert any of a catalogue of chances and ultimately succumbed to yet another defeat on home soil, as their winless run in the league stretched to seven matches.
Stellenbosch conjured the first chance of the match in the 17th minute. A long throw-in from Rafiq de Goede caused all sorts of problems in the Maritzburg box, but Ashley du Preez headed wide from close range after the ball fell fortuitously for him.
Du Preez squandered another gilt-edged chance in the 36th minute when a long ball from Sage Stephens forced Clayton Daniels into a defensive error, but despite having pounced on the loose ball, the Stellies forward rushed his effort at goal.
Maritzburg finally created a chance of their own three minutes later as a Daniels header found an unmarked Travis Graham, but the midfielder failed to get the desired touch with the goal at his mercy.
Du Preez looked sure to finally break his goal drought on the cusp of half-time after racing through on goal, but Marcel Engelhardt made a good save.
Chances were few and far between after the interval but Stellies looked the more likely to get a winner. The hosts, though, were ultimately punished for failing to take any of those opportunities as Maritzburg struck late.
The visitors were awarded a contentious penalty kick in the second minute of second-half stoppage time when the referee adjudged Junior Mendieta to have handled the ball inside the area. Kutumela duly stepped up to the mark and powered the ball home for his ninth goal in his last 10 league matches for the KwaZulu-Natal club.
Stellenbosch FC (0) 0
Maritzburg United (0) 1 (Kutumela 90+2′)
Stellenbosch FC: Stephens; Van Heerden (Msengi 72′), De Goede, Mthethwa, Macheke, Sinkala, Jabaar, Adams (Mendieta 72′), Skelem (Nange 83′), Van Rooyen (Mbekile 83′), Du Preez.
Maritzburg United: Engelhardt; Tlolane (Morgan 46′), Allie, Daniels, Shandu (Hachi 46′), Rae, Graham, Claasen, Stevic (Hlubi 90+3′), Kutumela (Ismail 90+3′), Hlongwane (Moseamedi 79′).