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AFCON- Africa Cup of Nations

AFCON 2023: Nigeria advance to final after penalty shootout win over South Africa

Published at :February 8, 2024 at 1:46 AM
Modified at :February 8, 2024 at 1:46 AM
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Aditya Chauhan

Nigeria will play in the final after 10 years

Nigeria have made it to their eighth AFCON final after a penalty shootout win over South Africa in Ivory Coast. The Super Eagles have a chance to lift their fourth African title.

The match ended 1-1 at the end of the first 90 minutes. Nigeria’s captain William Ekong gave his side the lead in the second half. Teboho Mokoena scored a late equaliser from the spot to take the game into extra time.

After a goalless draw in extra time, the match headed to a penalty shoot-out. The Super Eagles scored four of their five penalties from the spot. South Africa only managed to score two out of the four opportunities that they got in the shootout.

Stanley Nwabili was the hero in the shootout, making two big saves to deny Mokoena and Makgopa.

AFCON 2023 saw plenty of upsets in the group stage and the knockout stage as well. South Africa defeated Morocco in the Round of 16 and that was also one of the biggest upsets in the tournament. Nigeria were not letting their opponents win this match and they booked a place in the last round.

The first half went goalless, thanks to both goalkeepers. Stanley Nwabili made three saves in the first 45 minutes to keep the opposition out. Ronwen Williams, on the other hand, also made two saves to deny Nigeria from taking a lead. The contest was a 50-50 in the first half.

Nigeria started the second half with more momentum. However, they failed to break this tight South African defence in the initial stage of the half. Jose Peseiro made two changes at the 63rd-minute mark. On came Alhassan Yusuf and Samuel Chukweze in place of Alex Iwobi and Moses Simon.

Victor Osimhen showed his class and dribbled past the opponents soon after the substation was made. Mothobi Mvala conceded the spot-kick by bringing him down in the box. William Ekong stepped up to the occasion and converted from the spot.

The Super Eagles thought they had sealed the deal after Victor Osimhen converted another chance in the last stages of the match. However, VAR denied that goal and South Africa won a penalty on the opposite end. Teboho Mokoena converted the spot-kick and sent the game into extra-time.

South Africa had more possession in the extra time, but the Super Eagles created better chances. They tested the keeper three times but Ronwen Williams denied the Nigerian players. Grant Kekana was sent off for the Bafana Bafana after denying a one-on-one opportunity with the goalkeeper.

Nigeria will face the winner of the other semi-final between Ivory Coast and DR Congo.

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