Kick-off was delayed by almost 20 minutes, making it an even more nerve-wracking wait for Gordon Igesund’s two debutants, Dean Furman and Dino Ndlovu.
And right from the get-go the visitors got stuck in, with Siyabonga Sangweni really making Neymar’s day an uncomfortable one.
Bafana were holding their own, and should have taken the lead on 12 minutes. Siboniso Gaxa played a one-two with Ndlovu on the edge of the area and found himself one-on-one with Diego Alves, but his shot was a weak one and straight at the keeper.
Brazil were next to threaten five minutes later as Dede found himself unmarked from a free-kick, but his powerful header was well saved by Itumeleng Khune.
Sangweni again had Neymar’s number midway through the half when he reacted quickest to deny the Brazilian attacker a shot at goal.
There was heartbreak for Ndlovu just past the half-hour mark when he went down with what looked like a dislocated shoulder, allowing Benni McCarthy to come on for his 80th international cap.
Khune was called into action a minute later to parry a long-range shot, and just before the break again when he stood tall to save in a one-on-one from Neymar, who was having a game to forget.
There was one more significant piece of action just before half-time as McCarthy limped off with an ankle injury after a challenge from David Luiz – his comeback lasting just 10 minutes.
BRAZIL: Diego Alves - Dani Alves, Dede, Luiz (c), Marcelo - Romulo, Oscar, Ramires - Lucas, Leandro Damiao, Neymar
BAFANA: Khune - Gaxa, Sangweni, Khumalo (c), Masanamela - Dikgacoi, Serero, Chabangu - Serero, Ndlovu (McCarthy 33)(Parker 43), Tshabalala
Bookings: Dede, Marcelo; Chabangu