Cape Town - South Africa coach Shakes Mashaba identified his team's strong defence as a crucial factor in their 3-1 win over Angola on Friday.
Bafana outclassed the Angolans away from home in the first-leg of their 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier.
Goals from Tokelo Rantie, Thamsanqa Gabuza and Andile Jali secured the victory for Bafana in Benguela on Friday afternoon.
Mashaba also revelaed that Bafana would have to find a worthy replacement for Andile Jali, who was red-carded late in the game, ruling him out of the second leg in Durban on Tuesday.
"We managed to soak up the pressure especially after they scored, when in fact we should have scored seconds earlier but they played a counter attack and punished us with a soft goal," Mashaba told Soccer Laduma.
"I must applaud our boys for showing character by not dropping their heads after we conceded so early.
"The second-half started with the hosts in ascendancy but our defence - especially the central pairing of Erick Mathoho and Rivaldo Coetzee - did very well and kept us in the match. Angola was stretching us using their wingers but we stood firm.
"Jali's absence means we have to adjust the team a bit and make sure we get someone to get into that position."
Bafana take on Angola in the second-leg on Tuesday, November 16 at the Moses Mabhida Stadium.
Kick-off is at 19:00.