Super Eagles of Nigeria defeated the Bafana Bafana of South Africa 4-2 on penalties to qualify for the final of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON).The match finished 1-1 after extra time.
In a thrilling semi-final match at the Stade de la paix stadium (Bouakié), Nigeria emerged victorious against South Africa to secure their place in the finals of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon).
Both goals at regular-time goals. However, during penalties, Super Eagles outshined Bafana Bafana with spectacular shots which earned them the 4-2 win. Super Eagles, three-time champions will face any victorious team, hosts Ivory Coast or the Democratic Republic of Congo, in the final on Sunday.
As the match kicked off, Nigeria was considered the favorite due to their impressive head-to-head record against South Africa. However, the game proved to be a closely contested battle with end-to-end action.
Both teams had their fair share of missed opportunities throughout the match. In the first half, South Africa looked the stronger side, but they failed to capitalize on their dominance.
In the 66th minute, South Africa's Mothobi Mvala brought down Nigeria's Victor Osimhen in the eighteen-yard box, resulting in a penalty for Nigeria. Captain Williams Troost Ekong rose to the occasion and converted the penalty, giving Nigeria the lead.
However, in the 90th minute, Nigeria's Victor Osimhen had a goal disallowed due to a foul committed by Alhassan Yusuf on South Africa's Percy Tau in the box. This led to a penalty being awarded to South Africa, which Mokoena successfully converted to bring the Bafana Bafana back into the game.
Late in the match, South Africa's Grant Kekana was sent off after bringing down Terem Moffi, reducing them to ten men. Despite the intense action, neither team was able to score again for in normal time or extra time.
The match was eventually decided through a penalty shootout. Nigeria edged South Africa 4-2 on penalties as Kelechi Iheanacho scored the winning spot-kick, securing Nigeria's place in the final of the Afcon for the first time since their victory in 2013.
Asukwo Kingsley is a Mass Communication student, Federal Polytechnic, Oko, Anambra State
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