Bafana Bafana moved three points behind Group C leader Ghana in the Africa Cup of Nations after securing a 2-0 victory over Sao Tome and Principe at the Moses Mabhida Stadium on Friday evening.
Molefi Ntseki made a number of changes to his side that suffered a defeat to Zambia last month with only Thulani Hlatshwayo, Themba Zwane and Percy Tau keeping their place in the squad.
Bafana got off to a lively start and nearly broke the deadlock in the fifth minute but Lebogang Manyama headed his effort over the target from close range.
The visitors had a chance of their own five minutes later but Joazhifel Soares fired his effort against the side-netting.
Sao Tome nearly gifted Bafana the opener in the 19th minute but Tau failed to capitalise on the chance with the gaping goal after goalkeeper Aldair D'Almeida spilt the ball into the path of the Belgian based forward.
South Africa had another opportunity to take the lead in the 29th minute but Manyama's header sailed over the target after latching on to a Percy Tau corner.
Sao Tome should have found the back of the net with five minutes left in the first half but Dilson Quaresma directed his header wide at the far post.
Neither side were able to find the back of the net in the first half as the game went into the half time break locked at 0-0.
The visitors made their first chance of the game early in the second half when Nilson Taty came on to replace the injured Gamboa.
Bafana were then awarded a penalty in the 53rd minute when Tau was brought down in the box. Tau stepped up and made no mistake from the spot-kick to hand his side a 1-0 lead.
The home side should have doubled their lead in the 65th minute when Morane delivered a cross into the path of Zwane, who steers his header narrowly wide of the target from inside the box.
Ntseki made his first substitution a minute later when Bongani Zungu came on to replace Kamohelo Mokotjo in the middle of the park.
The visitors opted to bring on a fresh pair of legs in the 71st minute when Ronaldo Lumungo as brought on to replace Ivonaldo Viegas.
Sao Tome should have been awarded a penalty eight minutes later but the referee waved play on as Rownwen Williams collected the ball for Bafana.
South Africa's persistence paid off with one minute left in the second half as they doubled their lead when Zungu's towering header found the back of the net from a resulting corner to make it 2-0.
Ntseki made a double chance in stoppage time when Motjeka Madisha and Luther Singh came on to the pitch in place of Morena and Dolly.
However, Bafana held on to their two-goal lead over Sao Tome until the final whistle to secure all three points at home.
Bafana Bafana starting XI against Sao Tome:
Ronwen Williams (GK), Thapelo Morena, Innocent Maela, Mosa Lebusa, Thulani Hlatshwayo (C), Dean Furman, Percy Tau, Kamohelo Mokotjo, Lebogang Manyama, Themba Zwane, Keagan Dolly.
Darren Keet (GK), Itumeleng Khune (GK), Siyabonga Dube, Lyle Lakay, Motjeka Madisha, Rushine de Reuck, Bongani Zungu, Luther Singh, Tebogo Mokoena, Thabiso Kutumela, Vincent Pule, Thabo Nodada, Siyethemba Sithebe.
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