The Bafana Bafana moved three points clear at the top of their 2022 World Cup qualifying group with a 1-0 victory over Zimbabwe on Thursday night.
The win ensures qualification to the final round of the African qualifiers goes down to an epic showdown against the Black Stars of Ghana in Cape Coast to decide to who makes it out of Group G.
Bafana made three changes from the win over Ethiopia, as Keagan Dolly and Percy Tau linked up in the attack, while Portugal-based midfielder Thibang Phete also got a start.
The hosts looked comfortable in the opening exchanges, but the Warriors had the first chance in the 15th minute after Ishmael Wadi intercepted a cross-field pass to go through on goal inside the box but he side-footed his effort wide.
However, Hugo Broos’ charges took control thereafter and broke the deadlock just before the half-hour mark, with Teboho Mokoena nodding home a cross from Dolly.
Zimbabwe were threatening after the halftime break, but Bafana quickly regained momentum as Dolly came close to doubling the lead for the hosts just after the hour-mark with a curling strike that was parried over the bar by goalkeeper Petros Mhari.
The game opened up after that and Bongokuhle Hlongwane had a chance to double the lead for Bafana 17 minutes before time after a knock down by Dolly inside the box but he blasted his half-volley over the bar.
Broos was looking to manage the game in the last ten minutes with a tactical change, as Ethan Brooks replaced Tau but Bafana were threatening to put the game to bed in the dying minutes, as Hlongwane came close with a looping strike that was tipped into the bar by Mhari.
In the end, Mokoena’s first-half goal was enough to do the job as South Africa held on to move three points clear at the top of the group.
Ghana will host South Africa in Cape Coast on Sunday, needing any sort of win to progress to the next round.