AFCON 2019 (2nd
- Nigeria 2-1 South Africa
Nigeria joined Senegal to the semi-finals of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) tournament.
This followed a nail biting, tense and dramatic 2-1 win over South Africa Bafana Bafana in the second quarter final played at the Cairo International Stadium on Wednesday night.
Samuel Chimerenka Chukwueze gave the Super Eagles a 26 minute lead.
The Villareal forward beat goalkeeper Williams Hayden Ronwen from close range after a teasingly well laid ball from the left by Alexander Iwobi.
South Africa equalized with close to 20 minutes to play via a Video Assistant Refereeing (VAR) awarded goal following Bongani Zungu’s dipping header that beat Kaizer Chiefs goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi in Nigeria’s goal posts.
With the game destined for extra time, defender William Paul Ekong, who features at Italian side Udinese poked home the winner, albeit on the stroke of full time to erupt wild celebrations from many of Nigeria’s fans including neutral ones.
The game kicked off on a vibrant swing in the first half.
Wilfred Ndidi Onyinye curled the ball over from 30 yards as the Super Eagles sought for the early advantage inside the first five minutes.
South Africa reacted there and then. Percy Tau released Christopher Thembinkosi Lorch who shot wide from acute angle on 10 minutes.
Three minutes later, Algerian referee Redouane Jiyed cautioned South Africa’s center forward for Lebo Mothiba for a malicious foul.
The crowd reacted bitterly when Peter Etebo fell in the penalty area and no action was taken by the referee on 24 minutes.
Two minutes later, Nigeria broke the deadlock.
Villareal’s Chukwueze struck home the opener after Iwobi’s donkey work on the left.
Nigeria looked dangerous on the break particularly every time the athletic Ahmed Musa raided the opposition on the left flank, another decision making remained the Al Nassar forward’s underdoing.
In fact, Musa earned a yellow card for a foul on Innocent Mkhize with 10 minutes to play.
Nigeria comfortably bossed the opening 45 minutes 1-0.
Upon return in the second stanza, South African captain Thulani Hlatshwayo was cautioned for rough play.
Nigeria missed the opportunity to double the scores in the 50th minute when Etebo’s free kick razed onto the cross bar.
Musa broke through on the left but his cut back only earned Gernot Willi Rohr’s charges a fruitless corner kick.
Lorch paved way for Themba Zwane in the first change on the day for South Africa first change on the hour mark.
South Africa’s Percy Tau was booked two minutes later.
Thulani registered an attempt off target with 25 minutes to play as South Africa pushed numbers forward.
The evening’s talking point arrived in the 71st minute when Zungu headed home the equalizer.
At first, referee Riyad cancelled the goal after signal from the first assistant referee Lahsen Azgaou.
But, after review on the Video Assistant Referee, the goal counted and South Africa celebrated the equalized.
The best and decisive moment was reserved for the very last minute of the game when defender Ekong headed home a corner to restore their lead.
By this time, it was done and dusted, Nigeria had progressed to the semi-finals.
The Super Eagles join the Senegalese Lions of Teranga who beat Benin 1-0 at the 30th June Stadium in an early kick off on Wednesday.
Team Line Ups:
Daniel Akpeyi (G.K), Jamilu Collins, Wilfred Ndidi Onyinye, William Paul Ekong, Kenneth Josiah Omeruo, Peter Otebo Oghenekaro, Samuel Chimerenka Chukweueze, Collins Awaziem Chidozie, Ahmed Musa (Captain), Alexander Iwobi, Jude Odion Ighalo
Vincentt Ezenwa Ikechukwu (G.K), Francis Odinaka Uzoho (G.K), Temitayo Olufisayo Aina, Leon Aderemi Balogun, John Obi Mikel, Henry Chukwemeka Onyekuru, Abdallahi Shehu, Paul Ebere Onuachu, Moses Daddy Simon, Samuel Kalu Osimhen
Head Coach: Gernort Willi Rohr (Germany)
South Africa XI:
Williams Ronwen Hayden (G.K), Wilson Buhlebuyeza Mkhwanazi, Innocent Thamsanqa Mkhize, Bongani Zungu, Lebo Mothiba, Kamohelo Mokotjo, Thulani Hlatshwayo (Captain), Dean Furman, Sandile S’fiso Hlanti, Percy Muzi Tau, Thembinkosi Christopher Lorch
Darren Keet (G.K), Sakhile Innocent Frances Maela, Daniel Antonio Cardoso, Ramahllwe Mphahlele, Lebohang Kgosana Maboe, Thulani Caleb Serero, Themaba Zwane, Samuel Tiyani Mabunda, Bruce Hlamulo Bvuma, Sibusiso Vilakazi, Hlompho Alpenus Kekana, Lars Veldwijk
Head coach: Stuart Baxter (UK)