Bafana Bafana were willed onto an unconvincing 1-0 win over Ethiopia by 2 000 fans at FNB Stadium on Tuesday night to remain at the top of their World Cup qualifying Group G, with 10 points.
The result kept them one point clear of Ghana, who beat Zimbabwe earlier yesterday.
Bafana were given an early warning as the visitors looked for a victory to keep their hopes of qualifications alive.
But the Walias were rocked after 11 minutes by an own goal by record goalscorer Getaneh Kebede as he tried to clear Evidence Makgopa’s header from Yusuf Maart’s corner.
Despite being the home side, Bafana played the more passive football, inviting the ball-playing visitors onto them and looking to hit them on the break.
In the 19th minute, Kebede had the chance to punish SA but his weak effort was saved by Ronwen Williams, before he followed up with a shot that went just wide in the 25th.
Meanwhile, Bafana’s counters lacked accuracy with Victor Letsoalo putting SA’s best attack over the crossbar from close range after 29 minutes.
After the break, Makgopa beat the offside trap and the keeper, but saw his effort chased down and cleared off the line.
Bafana felt they should have had a penalty in the 70th when Bongokuhle Hlongwane was cut down inside the area, but the Burundian referee waved play on, as Hugo Broos’s manne ultimately held on to stay unbeaten in 11 games.