Nigeria has qualified for the final of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) after a 4-2 victory on penalties over South Africa in the semi final match in Bouake on Wednesday.
The first half had few chances as both sides sized each others up in search of a veritable opening.
Bafana Bafana had the best chance of the first period in the 39th minute.
Evidence Makgopa find himself in space on the edge of the box and smashed a glorious looking effort toward the right side of the goal, but Stanley Nwabili thwarted him with a great two-handed save.
The early period of the second half went in similar way. Both sides had chances that were not converted from Victor Osimhen and Frank Onyeka before coach Jose Peseiro made two changes.
Samuel Chukwueze and Alhassan Yusuf replaced Moses Simon and Alex Iwobi respectively in the 61st minute of play.
Three minutes later, Mothobi Mvala knocked Osimhen down with an over-the-top tackle inside the box as the referee awarded a penalty in favour of the three time African champions.
William Troost-Ekong took a real chance, but his low driven penalty into the middle of the net fooled Ronwen Williams in goal to give Nigeria the lead.
With 15 minutes to the end of the match, Makgopa let fly with a decent effort from the edge of the box that flashed just wide of the right post.
After Osimhen taught he had doubled the lead for his team, the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) cancelled the goal for a previous foudl inside the box, awarding a penalty to the Southern African side in the 88th minute.
Teboho Mokoena won the battle of wills and sent an unstoppable penalty past Stanley Nwabili into the bottom left corner.
The confidence of the South Africans grew with the equaliser with two late chances from Mokoena and Khuliso Mudau which should have won the game and prevented extra time.
Victor Osimhen shoot from the edge of the penalty area. The ball traveled toward the bottom right corner, but Ronwen Williams easily dealt with the threat.
Grant Kekana’s foul on substitute, Terem Moffi led to the former’s early showers as he was sent off.
The game entered penalties where Nigeria won 4-2 and will face either Cote d’Ivoire or Democratic Republic of Congo in the final.
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