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How Nigeria defeated South Africa to clinch spot in AFCON final

Super Eagles

In a tense and dramatic encounter, Nigeria secured her place in the final of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) after defeating South Africa 4-2 on penalties. The match, which took place in Boauake, saw both teams locked in a 1-1 draw after regulation and extra time, leading to a nail-biting penalty shootout.

The game started with Nigeria being tipped as favorites, but South Africa proved to be formidable opponents, particularly threatening on the counter-attack. Despite the Eagles’ dominance in possession, it was South Africa who created the best chance of the first half, only to be denied by a vigilant Stanley Nwabali in the Nigerian goal.

The first half ended in a stalemate, with both teams unable to break the deadlock. However, Nigeria came out stronger in the second half, and their persistence paid off when Victor Osimhen was brought down in the penalty area, leading to a penalty for the Eagles. Captain William Troost-Ekong stepped up and converted the spot-kick to give Nigeria the lead in the 65th minute.

With victory seemingly within reach for Nigeria, South Africa mounted a late surge and earned a penalty in stoppage time after a foul by Nigerian substitute Alhassan Yusuf. Mokoena successfully converted the spot-kick, leveling the score and sending the game into extra time.

Despite both teams’ efforts, neither could find a breakthrough in extra time, leading to the decisive penalty shootout. Nigeria’s goalkeeper emerged as the hero, making two crucial saves to guide the Eagles to a 4-2 shootout victory.

With this hard-fought win, Nigeria advances to the final of the AFCON tournament, where they will face the winner of the second semi-final between tournament hosts Ivory Coast and DR Congo. The Eagles, eyeing their fourth Africa Cup of Nations title, will be eager to claim victory in the final showdown on Sunday.

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