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Nigeria 1-1 South Africa (4-2 pens): AFCON Player Ratings

AFCON trophy
© Ace Football

The Super Eagles reached the AFCON final with a hard-fought win over South Africa.

Nigeria defeated South Africa in the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) semifinals on Wednesday. The Super Eagles edged out their opponents in the penalties to get within touching distance of the continental trophy.

What happened?

Nigeria’s dominant start to the game barely led to any serious chances as South Africa held their opponents at bay with a number of deadly counter-attacks.

The pace of the game increased significantly after the break, with South Africa forcing Stanley Nwabali to make two brilliant saves. It was Nigeria, however, who finally broke the deadlock through William Troost-Ekong’s penalty in the 67th minute.

South Africa increased the pressure on Nigeria’s backline from both flanks, finally clinching the equalizer in the 90th minute. Another penalty, this time from Teboho Mokoena, took the game to extra time, reviving the South Africans’ hopes of completing a comeback.

Bafana Bafana were forced to stay in their own half for most of the extra time as Nigeria regained control over the possession. Grant Kekana was sent off with a straight red card in the 115th minute, but the Super Eagles failed to kill off the game before the penalties.

Despite Ola Aina’s missed penalty, Nigeria won the shootouts 4-2, reaching the AFCON final. Evidence Makgopa and Mokoena failed to convert penalties for South Africa as they failed to continue their dream run in the tournament.

Player Ratings

Nigeria: Nwabali (8), Ajayi (7), Troost-Ekong (7), Bassey (6), Osayi-Samuel (7), Onyeka (7), Iwobi (7), Aina (6), Simon (5), Osimhen (7), Lookman (5).

Bench: Yusuf (4), Chukwueze (7), Aribo (6), Iheanacho (7), Moffi (6), Omeru (-).

South Africa: Williams (7), Muadu (7), Kekana (6), Xulu (6), Mvala (6), Modiba (7), Zwane (6), Sithole (7), Mokoena (7), Tau (7), Makgopa (6).

Bench: Mayambela (6), Lepasa (6), Sibisi (-).