The South African CHAN team comprising mostly u23 and fringe players, put up a spirited performance against hosts Lesotho before going down 3-2 in the first leg of the CHAN2020 tournament at Setsoto Stadium, Maseru on Sunday, 28 July 2019.
And having scored two away goals, coach David Notoane will fancy his chances of overturning the first leg deficit when the two teams clash again in the return leg at Dobsonville Stadium next Sunday.
In fact, had it not been for inexperience by this South African CHAN team, the result would have told a different story altogether but still Notoane would take the 3-2 defeat knowing a 1-0 win at home would be good enough to take his unheralded side to the final qualifying round.
In a match which kicked off at 14h00, contrary to the normal 15h00 kick off time, the hosts took an early lead in the fifth minute when the South African defence failed to clear their lines and Tsepo Seturumane was on hand to stab the ball into the back of the net, beating Bongani Mpandle hands down.
South Africa immediately responded with Kamohelo Mahlatsi in the thick of action for most of South Africa's attacks. Despite the incessant pressure, South Africa were left frustrated by the stubborn Lesotho defence.
And with the match headed for half-time, Bongokuhle Hlongwane who had just come in for Zama Rambuwane was brought down at the stroke of half-time and captain Tercious Malepe made no mistake from the spot to bring parity before the break.
It then became a ding dong affair after the break with both teams chasing for the second goal and with South Africa piling on the pressure, the youngsters, playing against Lesotho's first choice team were caught on the break resulting in Malepe handling in the box for Lesotho's penalty.
Makara Ntaitsane made no mistake from the spot to restore the home team's lead.
Coach Notoane then brought in Luvuyo Phewa for the tiring Siboniso Conco and the substitute made an immediate impact.
Matlatsi who was a handful for the hosts throughout the 90 minutes, waltzed past a number of Lesotho players before squaring for Phewa who finished off with aplomb to make it 2-2.
And with the match headed for a draw, South Africa's defence went to sleep and were punished in the 89th minute when Lehlohonolo Fothoane picked his spot from inside the box to score the winning goal as the match ended 3-2.