AFCON Update: Nigeria beats South Africa on penalties, set to meet CIV in the final

2023 AFCON semifinals review: Nigeria vs South Africa & Ivory Coast vs DR Congo.

AFCON Update: Nigeria beats South Africa on penalties, set to meet CIV in the final
Captain Fantastic! William Troost Ekong applauds the fans on a lap of honor after the Super Eagles dumped South Africa out of the AFCON on penalties. (Photo credit: BBC)


The finalists of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations emerged on Wednesday as the Super Eagles of Nigeria beat South Africa on penalties while the hosts, Ivory Coast, edged DR Congo 1-0.

South Africa has never beaten Nigeria in an AFCON match, and the semifinal of the ongoing tournament in Ivory Coast wasn’t different. The Bafana-Bafana lost the game to Nigeria in the first half after settling into the game.

Nigeria started on the front foot, but the South Africans grew in strength. Percy Tau’s tame effort was saved by Stanley Nwabali midway into the first half, and Ronwen Williams shut out Alex Iwobi’s strike from outside the South African area.

Nwabali saved a brilliant curler from Evidence Makgopa, and the Chippa United shot-stopper saved again following a neat one-two pass that set Sphephelo Sithole through on goal, with the half ending with both teams goalless.

The second half saw Nigeria in the ascendancy, and midway through the half, Nigeria took the lead. Reigning African Footballer of the Year Victor Osimhen used pace and trickery to win a penalty, and William Troost Ekong stayed composed to convert past Williams.

Osimhen thought he had won the game for Nigeria at the death after tapping home, but a VAR review revealed a foul in the Nigerian area, which led to the cancellation of the Nigerian goal and a penalty award to South Africa.

Teboho Mokoena converted from the spot, sending Nwabali the wrong way. The game went into extra time, where Nigeria thoroughly dominated. The South Africans were obviously playing for penalties at this stage, relying on the prowess of their captain, Ron Williams.

Grant Kekana saw red for a professional foul on Terrem Moffi; the latter had replaced the industrious Osimhen in extra time. He raced through on goal, but Kekana halted him just before he could get into the box eighteen.

Straight into penalties, the South Africans became the favorites to win after their quarterfinal magic against Cape Verde. Moffi stepped up first for Nigeria, and he went down the middle to hand Nigeria the advantage.

Mokoena’s spot kick was saved by Nwabali. Kenneth Omeruo sent Williams the wrong way to make it 2-0 to Nigeria, but Ola Aina blazed over to hand South Africa a lifeline. Nwabali denied Evidence Makgopa from leveling things with another save; Troost Ekong and Kelechi Iheanacho scored later to confirm Nigeria’s ticket to the final.

The Super Eagles of Nigeria will square up with tournament hosts Ivory Coast in the final after the Elephants beat DR Congo 1-0 through a sublime Seb Haller strike. The final will be played on Sunday, while a third-place playoff will be played on Saturday.

Name

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Footballnus | Stay updated on the latest football news, analysis and betting predictions: AFCON Update: Nigeria beats South Africa on penalties, set to meet CIV in the final
AFCON Update: Nigeria beats South Africa on penalties, set to meet CIV in the final
2023 AFCON semifinals review: Nigeria vs South Africa & Ivory Coast vs DR Congo.
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