The hosts of the 2013 African Cup of Nations are through to the quarterfinals as South Africa fought hard to draw 2-2 with Morocco. The North African side will be heartbroken as they led twice, but failed to take several great chances to put the game to bed.
Three minutes after South Africa's second equaliser, Cape Verde went 2-1 up against Angola in the other game in the group to take second place and see Morocco exit the competition.
Morocco looked to be a far more organised side than the hosts, and they deservedly took the lead on 10 minutes with a header from Issam El Adoua. South Africa had failed to clear their lines from the corner and went on to have two very dubious penalty claims waved away by the referee.
Morocco should have doubled their lead when Itumeleng Khune came rushing out of the Bafana Bafana goal to challenge Kamel Chafni. Unfortunately for the Moroccan, the keeper made a good tackle and hoofed the ball out for a throw-in, despite being 30 yards from his goal line.
South Africa's sloppy defending saw them go in 1-0 down at halftime, but they had begun to gain some attacking momentum. Bernard Parker forced a save from Nadir Lamyaghri in the Moroccan goal as the keeper managed to tip his curling effort wide of the post.
Then came the equaliser—an unstoppable curling shot from May Mahlangu straight into the top corner. Morocco had gone from leading Group A to exiting the tournament in a matter of minutes.
When Mehdi Namli put them back in front they were back on top of the group as Cape Verde equalised against Angola. Morocco were going through as group winners once more.
Not even three minutes later it was all changed again as Siyabonga Sangweni drew the tournament hosts level for a second time with another superb curling effort, this one ending up in the bottom corner.
The fatal blow for the Atlas Lions came on 90 minutes through no fault of their own, when Cape Verde took the lead against Angola. With only a few minutes of stoppage time to salvage their quarterfinal dreams they looked for a third goal, but South Africa were perfectly comfortable running down the clock.
The final whistle saw the host nation through as group winners with Morocco finishing third with three points from as many games.
South Africa will have to wait until Group B is concluded to find out who their opponents will be. With both Ghana and the Democratic Republic of Congo in that group, Bafana Bafana will need to tighten up at the back to avoid exiting the competition in the next round.