Kaizer Chiefs built a three-point lead in the South African Premiership by defeating bottom club Golden Arrows 1-0 in Durban on Thursday.
Leading league scorer Bernard Parker, who has played in the Netherlands, Serbia and Greece, converted an early second-half penalty to secure maximum points.
Mzivukile Tom clumsily handled the ball as he attempted to clear and South Africa midfielder Parker sent goalkeeper Ryan Harrison the wrong way from the spot.
Arrows coach Mark Harrison, the father of Ryan, called the penalty award "scandalous" despite big-screen replays showing the referee made the correct decision.
Chiefs should have won comfortably as they struck the woodwork three times during the opening half at Moses Mabhida Stadium, a 2010 FIFA World Cup venue.
But an Arrows side lacking bite up front could have snatched a point as Chiefs goalkeeper and captain Itumeleng Khune produced a superb late save to foil Bonginkosi Ntuli.
Khune, a spectator for most of the game, later dashed off his line to punch the ball away from Philani Shange.
"I had an uncomfortable night on the bench," admitted Chiefs coach Stuart Baxter, "because we did not score more goals when on top."
It was the second narrow win this week for the defending champions as an early Knowledge Musona goal delivered a 1-0 home win over Pretoria University.
Chiefs have 27 points, three more than Mamelodi Sundowns, who host struggling Maritzburg United in Pretoria Friday at the start of the final round of fixtures this year.
Northbound Pirates finally set sail
At the other end of the table, 2013 CAF Champions League runners-up Orlando Pirates finally climbed off the bottom by winning twice within four days.
The Buccaneers, who lost 3-1 to Al-Ahly of Egypt in the two-leg African club showpiece, edged Pretoria University 1-0 after an impressive 3-0 victory at Platinum Stars.
Midfielder Oupa Manyisa snatched the second-half winner in Soweto Thursday to leave Pretoria with an embarrassing record of just one point and no goals from seven away games this season.
Manyisa was also on target against Platinum, an unfashionable club from north-western mining town Rustenburg who shocked Pirates twice recently in domestic cup finals.
Thandani Ntshumayelo and Daine Klate were the other first-half scorers as Pirates showed the form that took them to the Champions League decider.
Pirates are only three points above Arrows, but have seven games in hand after numerous postponements due to African commitments.
Several superb goals highlighted the 10 matches between Monday and Thursday with an unstoppable Aiden Jenniker drive giving Ajax Cape Town a late 2-1 win over Bloemfontein Celtic.
Equally stunning was a swerving Sibusiso Khumalo drive after a free-kick was pushed to him which gave SuperSport United the lead over Mamelodi Sundowns in a 1-1 Pretoria derby draw.