Nigeria 2-1 South Africa: Gernot Rohr got his tactics right (Match Highlights)
William Troost-Ekong's late winner against South Africa sent Nigeria into the Africa cup of Nations semi-final.
Samuel Chukwueze opened the scoring on the second attempt as Alex Iwobi jinked past two South African defenders before finding the Villareal youngster.
South Africa equalized against the run of play with a header which was ruled out for offside initially before VAR replays showed the free-kick hit Nigerian striker Odion Ighalo before Bongani Zungu headed the ball in for the goal.
Troost-Ekong broke the hearts of Bafana Bafana players as he was at the right place to tap in from close range to send the Super Eagles into the semifinal.
Gernot Rohr got it right
For all the bashing Super Eagles coach Gernot Rohr gets from Nigerian fans, he has been spot on in our last two victories against the defending champions Cameroon and South Africa respectively.
Against the Cameroonians, the Super Eagles pressed high from the start of the match forcing Cameroon into errors and playing it long. Seedorf did not have answers for the high press of the Nigerian team with the impressive Iwobi doing a great job closing down the Central midfielders constantly, Moses Simon, Ighalo and Ahmed Musa did a great job with the press in that game too. Despite conceding twice in that match, Nigeria seem to be in control and came from behind to score two quick goals in the second half. Kudos to the organization of the Super Eagles as a disjointed press could open up spaces for the opponents.
Bafana Bafana stunned the host Egypt with an impressive 1-0 win, the South Africans found space behind the Egyptian defence at will with the trickery Percy Tau and pacey Lorch finding room to run into. Egypt were naive as they were mostly on the offensive, a tactic that played into the hands of South Africa coach Baxter.
In the quarterfinal match last night, Rohr dropped Ola Aina for the returning Jamiu Collins and gave Samuel Chukwueze the start ahead of Moses Simon.
The German coach set his team up to press only in the middle, there are few times where Iwobi almost got carried away as he charges to press then retreat after realizing that was not the game plan.
Nigeria allowed their opponents to have the ball for most of the game, a tactic that seems to work as the South African players seem clueless when they are in possession.
Overall, the South Africans had a 61% possession while the Super Eagles had 39%. Bafana Bafana pacey attackers struggled to find any space behind the Super Eagles defence to run into, the tactical change by Rohr worked perfectly as the goal conceded by Nigeria was from a set piece.
In the attacking phase, Chukwueze's positioning was brilliant, the Villareal youngster played closer to Ighalo than on the wings as he seems to constantly drop into the middle to open up space for right back Awaziem to run into. His goal was also from his positioning in the middle as Iwobi picked him up with a cut back for him to score after an initial block by a South Africa defender.
It is impressive to see the dynamism of the Nigerian team and they seem destined for greatness.
Nigeria will play the winner of today's quarterfinal match between Ivory Coast vs Algeria in the 2019 African cup of nations Semifinal on Sunday.
Written by Segun Ake