Bafana Bafana's task of reaching the Cameroon 2019 Africa Cup of Nations took a blow as they were held to a 0-0 draw against Libya at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban on Saturday.
Libya controlled the the first half, and SA rallied in the second, but could not break the big physical, well-organised North Africans down.
Bafana looked overawed in a first half where they conceded a string of chances to the big, physical Libyan's dangerous quick counterattack.
The best of those was when left-back Mohamed El Monir cross was met big forward Anias Saltou sliding in to connect with a thigh, the ball squirting onto the right upright.
SA's best chance of the half came from applying pressure in the area in the dying seconds, culminating in Sifiso Hlanti blasting a foot over the crossbar.
Early in the second half Buhle Mkwhanazi rose to head Keagan Dolly's corner over.
Dolly, lively in the second half, dribbled inside from the left and smacked one high and wide in the 76th.
In the 86th Dolly crossed and substitute Bradley Grobler's header from 15 metres streaked past the upright.
Kamohelo Mokotjo forced a good save from Libya goalkeeper Mohamed Abdaula at the end.