In a thrilling semifinal clash, Nigeria secured their spot in the final of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) tournament after defeating South Africa 4-2 on penalties.
The Eagles will face Cote d’Ivoire in the final after The Elephants defeated DR Congo 1-0 in the other semi-final fixture.
The Nigeria Vs South Africa match, held in Boauake, ended in a 1-1 draw after regulation and extra time, forcing both teams to settle the score from the spot.
Nigeria asserted their dominance in the 65th minute when captain William Troost-Ekong converted a penalty kick after Victor Osimhen was fouled in the box.
Despite starting as favorites, Nigeria faced stiff resistance from South Africa, who posed a serious threat on the counter-attack throughout the game.
The first half concluded with a goalless draw, with South Africa looking comfortable with the scoreline under the guidance of coach Hugo Broos.
However, Nigeria intensified their pressure in the second half, eventually earning another penalty when Osimhen was brought down by a South African defender. Troost-Ekong once again stepped up and successfully found the back of the net in the 65th minute.
Just when it seemed like Nigeria would secure a victory, South Africa equalized in stoppage time with a penalty kick awarded after a foul by Nigerian substitute Alhassan Yusuf. Mokoena converted the penalty, sending the match into extra time.
After a goalless extra time, the game was decided by a penalty shootout, where Nigeria’s goalkeeper emerged as the hero with two crucial saves, leading the team to a 4-2 victory.
With this win, Nigeria advances to the final where they will face the winner of the second semifinal between tournament hosts Ivory Coast and DR Congo. The Eagles have their sights set on clinching their fourth Africa Cup of Nations title in Sunday’s final showdown.