Four penalties from Handre Pollard, playing his 50th Test, gave the Springboks a 12-3 half-time advantage as the struggling Lions were made to pay for indiscipline.
Warren Gatland's charges roared back in the second half to beat the Springboks 22-17 in a gripping first Test.
Here is how we rated the South Africans in defeat.
Willie le Roux - 7
Solid at the back and provided an attacking threat each time he touched the ball. He kicked well out of hand, with the exception of his last kick before going off injured. May feel unlucky his try was ruled out.
Cheslin Kolbe - 5
Was undone on a few of the bombs that Dan Biggar and Ali Price placed on him. He did throw himself up well to contest the kicks from the Boks, one almost paid off for a try. Little time with ball in hand.
Lukhanyo Am - 7.5
Some big plays on defence including a big shot on Daly. Always on hand on attack with some clever kicks but it just wasn't falling his way.
Damian de Allende - 6
Used as a battering ram into the Lions defence but was well marked the red sea of jerseys. Also scored a disallowed try. Solid on defence.
Makazole Mapimpi - 6
Starved of the ball but when he did get a touch, he showed what he is capable of with some great darts into the Lions defence. Helped set up the Boks only try. Contested in the air but fell of near the end.
Handre Pollard - 6.5
Solid in the air, bar the one mistake. Kicked well out of hand and well enough off the tee to give the Boks a 12-3 half time lead. Couple of missed shots at goal and lost the legs in the latter stages before being replaced.
Faf de Klerk - 6.5
Kicked well out of hand with just the one poor kick that saw Kolbe get taken into touch. Took his chance to score well. Defended well too.
Kwagga Smith - 5
Struggled under the high ball as the Lions targetted him with their kicks and pressurised the no.8. He was also penalised at the breakdown.
Pieter-Steph du Toit - 7
Physically dominant and put pressure on the Lions' carriers and breakdown.
Completely emptied the tank as he usually does.
Siya Kolisi - 6
Came incredibly close to score as he broke away from a driving maul but was stalled just short. Not quite as impactful with ball in hand. Little impact over the ball but solid enough on defence.
Franco Mostert - 5.5
Not to his usual high standard. Busy in the first half and ran the lineout well. Defensively sound but ran out of gas.
Eben Etzebeth - 7.5
The best Bok on the park. Trademark from the experienced second row. Powerful in all facets, disrupted the Lions mauls and a nuisance all round for the tourists.
Trevor Nyakane - 6
Silenced some doubts around his scrummaging. Carried strongly and won a nice turnover. Probably taken off too early.
Bongi Mbonambi - 6
A solid performance that Bok fans have come to expect from the rake. Solid in the set pieces with the only blemish being his high tackle.
Ox Nche - 7
Massive carries in the first half and provided a good battle with Furlong. Arguably taken off too early.