FIFA World Cup Qualifying: Central African Republic 0 South Africa 3
South Africa kept their World Cup qualification bid on track with a 3-0 win over Central African Republic in Cameroon on Saturday.
Bernard Parker, Lawrence Tshabalala and Katlego Mashego grabbed the goals for Gordon Igesund's side, and ensured they would keep the pressure on CAF Group A leaders Ethiopia, who were also victorious on Saturday.
South Africa came into the game knowing that a win was imperative, and they only had to wait until the 26th minute to take the lead.
Parker was the scorer for the 2010 World Cup hosts, grabbing his second goal in as many qualifiers after a sublime through-ball from the in-form Tshabalala.
To an extent, the goal came slightly against the run of play, with CAR more than holding their own and keeping the ball well before going behind.
However, the quality and ruthlessness of South Africa proved too much for the home defence again as their opponents doubled their lead on 42 minutes.
Some neat football between Tshabalala and May Mahlangu saw the latter played in on goal, and he duly rounded the goalkeeper before handing his side a 2-0 lead before half-time.
CAR made the brighter start to the second half and, with four minutes gone, the visitors forced their first real chance when Foxi Kethovoame agonisingly failed to provide a crucial finishing touch to Hilaire Mome's cross.
From then on, the game saw more bad challenges and fouls than efforts on goal, as South Africa looked to simply sit back and threaten on the counter.
The visitors' defence stood strong in the face of all that CAR had to throw at them, which was mainly corner kicks and long-range efforts, before they completed the rout in the 91st minute.
Mashego's diving header from Oupa Manyisa's cross provided a fitting end to the game for South Africa and, potentially crucially, moved their goal difference into positive territory.
Their first win in an away qualifier since 2005 puts them two points behind Ethiopia, with the sides set to meet on June 16 in Addis Ababa.
Defeat has all but ended CAR's slim qualification hopes, as they sit in third with just a solitary win to their name.