Burkina Faso substitute Banou Diawara netted an injury-time equaliser to deny South Africa a momentum-building win in their World Cup qualifying group D opener on Saturday.
Bafana Bafana appeared on course to secure the points when Dean Furman put them in front with 10 minutes to go.
But the hosts, who missed two penalties in an absorbing encounter, dug deep to find a leveller when South Africa failed to clear their lines and Diawara turned the ball home in the 91st minute.
It was South Africa who threatened in the early stages, Eleazar Rodgers setting up Mpho Makola, whose blistering drive flashed over the angle of post and crossbar.
Shakes Mashaba's team's early threat was almost halted, however, by a questionable decision from referee Redouane Jiyed, who awarded a 10th-minute penalty to the hosts even though Mulomowandau Mathoho appeared to handle a yard outside the area.
Jonathan Pitroipa, so often Burkina Faso's talisman, saw his tame spot-kick superbly saved by Itumeleng Khune.
Herve Kouakou Koffi was being kept equally busy at the other end and he produced a fine save to keep out Hlompho Kekana's header after 16 minutes.
Koffi was at the centre of the action again 17 minutes later to push a Makola free-kick around the post with Khune then repelling a low shot from Prejuce Nakoulma with his legs.
Rodgers wasted a fine chance to hand South Africa the lead with 20 minutes to go, driving straight at Koffi despite finding space inside the area. Oupa Manyisa was equally wasteful when he somehow shot over a gaping goal at the far post soon after.
But it looked as though their profligacy would not matter when Burkina Faso could only partially clear a corner and SuperSport United midfielder Furman drove decisively into the bottom left-hand corner.
South Africa even survived a second penalty - awarded when Manyisa senselessly tripped Nakoulma as he made his way into the box. With Pitroipa off the field, Alain Traore stepped up, but blazed his effort over the target.
The hosts could have been forgiven for thinking it was not to be their night, but more uncertain South Africa defending allowed Bakari Kone to hook the ball back into the area and Diawara was on hand to get the faintest of touches to divert it past Khune.