Three-times Africa Cup of Nations winners, Nigeria pushed their way into the semi-finals of the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) after a late goal tap from Udinese centre-back William Ekong resulting from a corner.
The Nigerians demonstrated an impressive character in the last minutes of the match showing the zeal not to go to the extra time after their rivals had equalised through a header from Zungu that had to be decided after consultations with the Video Assisted Referee (VAR).
Nigeria’s first goal came after a good run from Arsenal midfielder, Alex Iwobi and combined efforts of 20-year-old Samuel Chukwueze who scored past South African defenders.
The two African giants started the first half with violent attacks on their rivals without relenting and entering into each others box limitless but without a breakthrough.
Nigerian centre-back, Awaziem got a dangerous tackle on the 6th minute that sent him rolling on the ground after a good run that was headed for a goal.
Arsenal man, Alex Iwobi well-choreographed run along the left side of the Nigerian team past a South African defender saw him set a cross for 20-year-old Villareal winger Samwel Chukwueze in the 26th minute to send them leading.
20-year-old Samuel Chukwueze just scored his first goal for Nigeria against South Africa #AFCON2019
What a time to get it 🦅 pic.twitter.com/LUzOwITvOS
— VERSUS (@vsrsus) July 10, 2019
The goal scorer gets another chance after a good run on the Nigerian left side from Ahmed Musa but strikes wide from outside the box giving the South Africans a hard time.
South Africans defender, Hlatshwayo gave a hard tackle on Super Eagles centre-forward on the 49th minute resulting in a foul outside the box but Etebo’s sumptuous freekick right into the goal was punched away by the South African Keeper Ronwen Williams.
The two sides were meeting for the third time having played each other twice in the history of the African Cup of Nations with Nigeria winning both clashes, scoring six times and conceding none. And it doesn’t make for pretty reading for South Africa.
Leicester midfielder, Ndidi took down his rival Zwayne after a hard challenge in the 70th minute which was sent flying for Bongani Zungu to equalise for the Bafana Bafana men after a going for the high header to sent it past Akpeyi who had not been being tested for the better part of the match after much consultation with VAR.
There was a delay of two to three minutes before South Africa celebrations could really get going as they waited for VAR replays which would later vindicate their goal showing that the ball came off the back of Nigeria’s Odion Ighalo before Zungu planted his header to sent it past the Nigerian keeper.
Despite looking suddenly more sharper and dangerous, the South African found themselves on the wrong side of their feet as Ekong easily tapped a corner ball to sen them to the semis.
.@WTroostEkong secures @NGSuperEagles passage to the Semi Finals of the #AFCON2019 with this beauty! #OperaNews#NGARSA #NIGRSA #TotalAFCON2019
Ekong Moses Simon Chukwueze Musa pic.twitter.com/DTSooxaAvG
— Opera News (@TheOperaNewsNG) July 10, 2019
Nigeria XI: Akpeyi, Awaziem, Ekong, Omeruo, Collins, Ndidi, Etebo, Musa, Iwobi, Chukwueze, Ighalo.
South Africa XI: Williams, Hlanti, Mkhwanazi, Hlatshwayo, Mkhize, Furman, Mokotjo, Zungu, Lorch, Tau, Mothiba.