The South Africans dominated possession and looked very strong in the first half, but faded a bit after the break as the substitutions disrupted their progress. The result did, however, see them extend their unbeaten run to nine matches.
Bafana certainly started the stronger side and looked really comfortable on the ball, passing it around smoothly.
The first real chance came in the 11th minute when Katlego Mphela fired in a powerful 25-yard free-kick. His shot made its way through the wall, but couldn’t beat Nikolay Mihaylov, who made a good save diving low to his right.
Only three minutes later and the Bulgarian goalie was called into action again. This time Siphiwe Tshabalala curled an inviting 35 yard free-kick into the box which just missed the head of Surprise Moriri. Luckily, Mihaylo was alert enough to make a reaction save.
It was all South Africa in the opening exchanges as again the visitor’s goalkeeper was called into action when Teko Modise tested him, this time from about 25 yards out. The Bafana captain, after some quick passing, found himself in some space and let rip, but Mihaylov was up for the challenge.
Eventually, in the 20th minute, Bafana were able to break the deadlock and there was nothing the Bulgarian keeper could do about it. Tshabalala whipped in corner-kick from the right and Siyabonga Sangweni climbed high to meet it with a powerful header at the back-post.
Bulgaria seemed to wake up a little after going a goal down and started finding more possession and applying some pressure. The Bafana defence, however, looked to be standing firm until the 31st minute when they fell asleep, allowing Valeri Bonjinov to sneak in and volley home.
Bafana almost went in front for the second time in the 39th minute when a corner-kick was cleared to Reneilwe Letsholonyane on the edge of the 18 yard area. The Chiefs midfielder fired the ball goal-wards with a ferocious shot, but was denied by another superb save from the Bulgarian goalie.
Thereafter Bafana continued to apply pressure until the closing minutes of the half but were unable to find a goal before the break.
The second half saw South Africa make three substitutions right away, with Tsepo Masilela, Aaron Mokoena and Kagisho Dikgacoi coming on. Masilela made an immediate impression as Bafana seemed to dictate terms in the second half, especially down the flanks.
Then, against the run of play, a quick counter-attack by Bulgaria resulted in Dimitar Rangelov getting into a one-on-one situation with Itumeleng Khune, but he was too good for the striker, making a fine stop from close range.
Thereafter Bafana controlled possession and managed to control the play, but struggled to create any decent goal-scoring chances.
South Africa: Khune - Gaxa, Sangweni (Mokoena 46’), Khumalo, Thwala (Masilela 46’) - Modise (Parker 69’), Letsholonyane (Dikgacoi 46’), Khuboni, Tshabalala (Cale 78’) - Moriri (Nomvete 63’) - Mphela
Bulgaria: Mihaylov, Minev, Angelov, Georgie (Nikolov 92’), Yankov (Dimitrov 60’), Bojinov (Rangelov 55’), Peev (Vidanov 89’), Manolev, Ivanov, Petrov, Popov (Kamburov 55’)