South Africa’s preparations for upcoming African Nations Championship qualifiers were boosted with a 1-0 win over Costa Rica.
Andile Jali scored the game’s only goal at the Estadio Edgardo Baltodano Briceno in the ninth minute on Thursday.
Ephraim Mashaba’s team looked lively, mostly in the first half in Liberia, Costa Rica, but the hosts pushed for an equaliser.
Jali’s neat finish allowed South Africa to control the contest, ahead of their qualifiers against Angola later in October.
They will also face Honduras in a friendly on Tuesday in the lead-up to those games.
The result meant Oscar Ramirez’s men failed to build on their win over Uruguay last time out, but they have time to build ahead of their next round of World Cup qualifying starting in November.
South Africa took just nine minutes to go ahead and the goal came in style.
Jali played a neat one-two with Thulani Serero before finding space between two markers and deftly touching a finish over the advancing Keylor Navas.
Serero put a decent chance over the bar soon after, while Marco Urena forced Itumeleng Khune into a save from an angle after a driving run.
Urena looked dangerous in patches and his Costa Rica were dominant throughout the second half.
But they struggled to get in behind and create against a South Africa team with numbers behind the ball.
Urena had another effort from a tough angle saved, while Celso Borges curled a long-range free-kick wide in the 87th minute.
Navas’ only question of the second half came from two fans, who entered the pitch to ask for an autograph, but his team were unable to find a goal at the other end.
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