Jubilant Super Eagles
The Super Eagles of Nigeria maintain her unbeaten AFCON run against the Bafana Bafana of South Africa when they edged them 2-1 in the quarter-final, a goal each in either half from Chukwueze and Ekong respectively was all the Nigeria needed, South Africa's goal was scored by Zungu.
Both teams had previously met twice in 2000 and 2004 AFCON matches with the Super Eagles emerging victorious on both occasion 2-0 & 4-0 respectively, however, Bafana Bafana held the latest win, defeating the Nigerians 2-0 in the AFCON qualifiers right there on Nigerian soil en route to the current tournament. Overall, both teams had met 14 times(including CHAN tournament) with Nigeria winning 7 times, South Africa winning 2 and 5 draws between them. South Africans knocked out the host Egypt 1-0 in a remarkable round-of-16 match, the likes of Mo Salah and Trezeguet were kept at bay in a stellar performance by Bayana Bayana, Nigeria, on the other hand, had to come from a 1-2 down, to defeat Cameroon 3-2 in their round-of-16 encounter.
South African coach Stuart Baxter stuck with his winning eleven, deploying the same lineup as the one that got the job done in their round-of-16 triumph over host Egypt, Nigeria coach Gernot Rohr, on the other hand, made 2 changes to the one that defeated Cameroon, with Jamilu Collins preferred at left back to Ola Aina and Samuel Chukwueze coming in at right Wing forward for Moses Simon who passed a late fitness test, and both players made their inclusion a worthwhile with Chukwueze voted Man-of-match.
A quiet 1st 25 minute with no real danger at both ends, with both teams sizing each other up but the game came alive in the 27th minute when Alex Iwobi broke down the left-hand side and his square play found Villarreal Samuel Chukwueze who found the back of the net for Nigeria's opener, it was Nigeria's only shot on target in 5 shots while South Africa fared even worse, just 2 shots with none on target.
Nigeria almost got the 2nd goal in the 50th minute when Etebo's free-kick was brilliantly tipped against the cross-bar by South Africa goalkeeper Ronwen Williams. Drama in the 71st minute when South Africa got their equalizer, the referee called for an offside but his decision was overruled by VAR as the ball came off Nigeria's Odion Ighalo and was nodded in at the far post by Bongani Zungu. However, just when it seems the game will go into extra-time, South African defence completely missed a corner-kick and it was tapped into an empty net by William Troost-Ekong in the 89th minute. It ended 2-1 to the Super Eagles of Nigeria, as their 10th quarter-final appearance in the AFCON ended with a victory and they now await either of Ivory Coast or Algeria in the Semi-final.
Super Eagles were lucky to go away with the victory despite loss of control of the game having taken the lead(like they did against Cameroon) and failure to make good of chances created by the wing forwards(Ahmed Musa and Samuel Chukwueze), a more potent team like Senegal or Algeria would have made them rue the lost chances. South Africa would be gutted for the loss having dominated possession, they showed Nigeria too much respect and took time to get into the game. Over-dependent on Percy Tau who was made ineffective by the Nigerian defence was another of their undoing.
Nigeria now joined Senegal(who also edged Benin 1-0 in their quarterfinals clash) in the semifinal.
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