Teboho Mokoena’s 26th minute goal handed South Africa a precious 1-0 victory over Zimbabwe as the Bafana Bafana inched closer to the play-off round of the qualifiers for the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup.
Elsewhere, Senegal left it late before scoring an additional time equalizer to play out to a 1-1 draw with Togo and remain unbeaten in the group round.
South Africa 1-0 Zimbabwe
With Ghana having earlier on been held to a 1-1 draw by Ethiopia at the Orlando Stadium, South Africa had fate dangling on their side just seven kilometres out at the FNB Stadium as they needed to win to keep their hopes alive.
After a cagy start, they finally got the lead against their COSAFA region neighbours, Mokoena nodding down the ball brilliantly across the face of goal to the far post off a well weighted Keegan Dolly cross from the right.
It was the closest and best chance from both sides in the opening 45.
The pace of the game picked up midway through the second half and Zimbabwe keeper Petros Mhari was called to make two back to back saves to keep his side in the game.
He did well to tip over Dolly’s well taken shot before rising to do the same and deny Thibang Phete who had connected to a Percy Tau cross.
Zimbabwe’s best chance of the half and by far the game was in the 67th minute when Ishmael Wadi headed Khama Billiat’s corner just wide.
South Africa held on for the win to remain top of Group G with 13 points, three ahead of second placed Ghana with whom they face off in the final match in Accra.
Togo 1-1 Senegal
In Lome, substitute Habib Diallo scored the equalizer in the second minute of added time as Senegal preserved their unbeaten run in the group phase with a 1-1 draw against Togo.
The Sparrow Hawks were headed to a priceless victory against the already qualified Senegal, but the Lions of Teranga roared late to deny them victory.
Senegal defender Pape Abou Cisse headed the ball into his own net as he tried to cut out Richard Nane’s nod from a recycled ball off a corner, as Togo went to the break 1-0 up.
In the second half, Senegal tried to get their feet back into the game. Krepin Diatta had a rasping shot from inside the box go agonizingly wide while Mamadou Ndiaye headed over the bar unmarked from a Nampalys Mendy corner.
They however got the equalizer at the death when off a long ball, Diallo raced to a flick before lifting it over the advancing keeper.
Senegal face Congo Brazzaville in their last match on Sunday while Togo will be away to Namibia.