2010 World Cup hosts South Africa have been dropped from the race for 2014 Brazil showpiece, losing 2-1 to Ethiopia in Addis Ababa.
The victory means the East Africans have now attained an unassailable point in Group A, with one round of matches left. They are a two-legged tie away from qualifying for the World Cup for the first time.
South Africa started perfectly when Bernard Parker scored after 33 minutes but Getaneh Kabede leveled for Ethiopia in the 61st minute, before Parker scored a spectacular own goal after 70 minutes to unfortunately rule South Africa from the play-off rounds.
The defeat continues South Africa’s poor record in World Cup qualifying rounds since they last managed to reach the 2002 edition off their own efforts.
Before earning automatic qualification in 2010 as hosts, Bafana Bafana also missed out of the 2006 edition, when they failed to qualify for Germany.
“Absolutely devastated about the result,” South Africa midfielder Dean Furman, who played 90 minutes in Addis Ababa, wrote on Twitter.
“We gave everything but it was not to be. We must now grow stronger (and) prepare for the next campaign.”
Parker latched onto a long ball from keeper Itumeleng Khune before drilling home. Seven minutes later, Reneilwe Letsholonyane had a golden opportunity to double South Africa’s lead- only to fail to fire home.
Ethiopia profited from a poor defending by South Africa, with four Bafana Bafana players failing to clear and so allowing Kebede to find the net from a tight angle.
Parker went from hero to zero twenty minutes from full time by scoring a spectacular own goal and the visitors were left fighting for their dear lives as Khune denied Ethiopia two clear-cut opportunities towards the end of the proceedings.