Steve Komphela’s men were on a barren 5-match run and lifted the pressure by coming from behind to win 2-1 against AmaTuks in Pretoria.
Goals from Reneilwe Letsholonyane (72) and Willard Katsande (85) cancelled out an early strike from Vuyisile Ntombayithethi (15) as Amakhosi registered their first win in the league since February to climb into third.
They leapfrogged Platinum Stars, who were soundly beaten 4-1 by Chippa United in Port Elizabeth, where an 18-minute hat-trick by Lerato Manzini (72, 84, 90) lead the hosts to a first win in four and seventh place on the table.
Andile Mbenyane (6) was also on target, while Robert Ng’ambi (87) netted a late consolation.
Manzini’s hat-trick would have been the highlight of the round in terms of personal performances on most other weeks, but not this one as Frank Mhango’s outstanding four goals lifted Lamontville Golden Arrows to a 4-2 win over Mpumalanga Black Aces.
AmaZayoni had lead 2-0 through Collins Mbesuma (7) and Judas Moseamedi (40), before a remarkable comeback saw the Malawian net twice in first-half stoppage time and add another two in the 65th and 80th minutes at Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit.
Bidvest Wits and Maritzburg United were the big winners – closing the gaps at both ends of the table.
The Students are now within four points of the summit after they beat SuperSport United and log-leading Mamelodi Sundowns capped a forgettable seven days by dropping points.
And at the bottom, the Team of Choice claimed a precious win at Free State Stars, while relegation rivals Jomo Cosmos and University of Pretoria both stumbled. A mere one point now separates the three teams with four rounds of the campaign remaining.
Wits and Maritzburg made the most of playing on Tuesday as they claimed vital wins.
Gavin Hunt’s men had the returning Papy Faty to thank after his brace, scored in the 36th and 82nd minutes, helped secure a 2-0 win over Matsatsantsa in Atteridgeville – a result that took them to 55 points in second.
Sundowns, meanwhile, played on Wednesday and followed their CAF Champions League and Nedbank Cup exits with a goalless draw away at Ajax Cape Town in Athlone.
Pitso Mosimane’s men are still in pole position, but with a much smaller cushion.
At the bottom, basement-boys United edged to a 1-0 triumph over Ea Lla Koto in Bethlehem with the solitary strike coming via Sheldon van Wyk (13).
The KwaZulu-Natal side now have 20 points, one fewer than 15th-placed Cosmos, who played to a 0-0 draw against Bloemfontein Celtic in Potchefstroom.
In the only other game, Orlando Pirates were held to a goalless draw by Polokwane City in Soweto.