William Troost-Ekong’s late winner sent Nigeria through to the semi-finals of the Africa Cup of Nations on Wednesday, after a tense 2-1 victory over South Africa in Cairo.
Samuel Chukwueze fired the Super Eagles ahead in the first half in front of thousands, at the Cairo International Stadium.
But Bongani Zungu’s looping header brought South Africa level on 70 minutes, the goal awarded with the aid of VAR, after it was initially ruled out for offside.
VAR was introduced for the first time at the tournament from the quarter-final stage onwards.
Centre-back Troost-Ekong then turned home at a corner a minute from time to set three-time champions Nigeria up with a clash against Algeria or Ivory Coast, for a spot in the July 19 final.
Samuel Chukwueze won the ‘Man of the Match’ Award for his outstanding performance against South Africa in the quarter-final match at the AFCON 2019.
“It’s my first tournament with the senior side and it feels good to earn a win for my team by scoring. It’s more special to get the ‘Man of the Match’ trophy ,” he said.
Nigeria and South Africa renewed their rivalry at the quarter-final stage of the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations championship in Egypt on Wednesday, July 10.
Both teams progressed to the last eight stage in style having defeated their opponents at the round of 16.
The Super Eagles sent the defending champions Cameroon home with a 3-2 victory at the Alexandria Stadium four days ago. Bafana Bafana stunned host nation Egypt with a 1-0 scoreline in the 85th minute of the game.
The two countries have met 13 times in all competitions with three time African champions Nigeria, claiming six wins and two losses, while the remaining five ended in stalemates.
Meanwhile, the last time the South Africans lost to Nigeria was in a friendly match on 14 August 2013, and since then, they have avoided losing to the Eagles in all competitions.
South Africa maintain their unbeaten status against the west African country when they played 1-1 in the second leg of their AFCON 2019 qualifiers in November 2018. One year after beating the 2013 AFCON winners 2-0 at the Uyo international Stadium in June 2017 to get their qualifiers on a winning note.
At the end of tonight’s game, either side will progress and the outcome will have an effect on their quest for the title as well as their bragging rights on the head-to-head basis.
Coach Gernot Rohr’s men are gunning for their fourth title as they are one of the favourites before the start of the competition, while Baxter’s men are hoping to win their second this year.
Nigeria starting XI:
Daniel Akpeyi; C. Awaziem, K. Omeruo, Ekong, Jamilu Collins; Oghenekaro Etebo, Wilfred Ndidi; Samuel Chukwueze, Alex Iwobi, Ahmed Musa, Odion Ighalo
South Africa starting XI:
Ronwen Williams, Buhle Mkhwanazi, Thamsanqa Mkhize, Thulani Hlatshwayo, Sifiso Hlanti, Bongani Zungu, Kamohelo Mokotjo, Dean Furman, Lebo Mothiba, Percy Tau, Thembinkosi Lorch
Venue: Cairo International Stadium
Time: 8pm Nigerian time
Follow the action live on www.von.gov.ng
1′ Welcome to tonight’s game at the Cairo International Stadium.
2′ Odion Ighalo is penalized for pushing Buhle Mkhwanazi.
5′ Ball possession : Nigeria: 53%, South Africa: 47%
10′ LORCH! From an acute angle sees his effort go well wide after some nice inter-play between Mothiba and Mkhize on the right flank.
13′ Mothiba receives a yellow after tugging onto Awaziem.
19′ Nigeria are very compact allowing South Africa to hold onto the ball and trying to make use of the counter-attack.
22′ Ighalo from Nigeria is ruled offside.
25′ Ball possession Nigeria: 46% South Africa: 54%
27′ G O O O A A A L!!!! – Samuel Chukwueze scores!
31′ Lebo Mothiba from South Africa commits a foul by elbowing William Troost-Ekong.
35′ Ahmed Musa is shown a yellow card by the referee.
36′ Samuel Chukwueze fails to find the target with a shot from outside the box.
41′ Lebo Mothiba controls the ball with his hand.
45′ It’s over! The referee blows for halftime.
Halftime result: Nigeria 1-0 South Africa
Samuel Chukwueze’s goal hands the Super Eagles a 1-0 lead into the break. Alex Iwobi picked out Chukwueze after a fortunate deflection fell onto the path of the winger, who side-footed the ball into the net.
Follow the action live on www.von.gov.ng
46′ The referee blows the whistle and the second half is underway in Cairo!
49′ Odion Ighalo wins a free kick in the attacking half, fouled by Thulani Hlatshwayo.
50′ Thulani Hlatshwayo is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
51′ Delay in match because of an injury Odion Ighalo.
52′ Corner, Nigeria. Conceded by Dean Furman.
53′ Attempt missed. Wilfred Ndidi right footed a shot from the centre of the box misses to the right following a corner.
58′ Substitution, South Africa. Themba Zwane replaces Thembinkosi Lorch.
61′ Alex Iwobi wins a free kick in the defensive half.
62′ Percy Tau is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
68′ Great skill from Ahmed Musa as he dribbles past his opponents.
71′ GOAL!!! Nigeria 1-1 South Africa. A Bongani Zungu header from the left side of the six yard box to the top right corner following a set piece situation.
72′ HOLD ON!!! There is a delay in the match as the referee consults the video assistant (VAR)
73′ GOAL!!! The referee awards the goal to South Africa. It’s Nigeria 1-1 South Africa.
75′ Thamsanqa Mkhize is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
81′ Substitution, Nigeria. Moses Simon replaces Ahmed Musa.
85′ Attempt saved!!! Percy Tau’s left footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the top right corner. Assisted by Lebo Mothiba.
86′ Substitution, South Africa. Lars Veldwijk replaces Lebo Mothiba.
88′ Corner, Nigeria. Conceded by Thulani Hlatshwayo.
89′ G O O O A A A L!!!!! William Troost-Ekong from Nigeria taps the ball into the net. Assisted by Moses Simon with a cross following a corner. It’s Nigeria 2-1 South Africa.
90’+1′ Attempt saved. Odion Ighalo’s right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the bottom right corner.
90’+3′ Ball possession: Nigeria: 47%, South Africa: 53%
90’+4′ Substitution, Nigeria. Leon Balogun replaces Alex Iwobi.
90’+5′ That’s it!!!! the referee blows the final whistle. Nigeria 2-1 South Africa.