Bafana Bafana are sweating on a place in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations knockouts, after a 90th-minute heartbreak saw them edged out by Morocco on Monday night.
The South Africans played an unadventurous hand against Herve Renard’s North Africans, gambling on not slipping up at the back being enough to see them to one of the best third-place finishes.
A pair of speculative Percy Tau corners and an off-balance Thulani Hlatshwayo header were as close as South Africa came in a stop-start opening half an hour.
The flow of the game was hindered by a succession of late challenges, with Themba Zwane and second game hero Bongani Zungu yellow carded.
Stuart Baxter’s men started brightly after half time, with Thamsanqa Mkhize lashing just wide to the right of goal.
But it was Achraf Hakimi who came closest of all, giving the crossbar a right old rattle from the edge of the area with Ronwen Williams well beaten.
The game slowed to a crawl as the second half went on, with Morocco happy to coast into the last 16 and Bafana willing to risk managing a 0-0 to sneak them through.
A defensive lapse from a free kick, however, allowed M’bark Boussoufa to fire through the bodies and in for the winner.
It leaves Bafana Bafana relying on results elsewhere to help them through to the round of 16.