Nigeria Advances to AFCON Final After Thrilling Penalty Shootout Against South Africa
In a captivating semifinal showdown, Nigeria secured their spot in the final of the 2023 TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations with a dramatic penalty shootout victory over South Africa. The highly-anticipated clash ended 1-1 after extra time, with Nigeria emerging victorious in the shootout with a 4-2 scoreline, thanks to goalkeeper Nwabali’s heroic saves.
The match was tightly contested from start to finish, with both teams battling fiercely for supremacy. Nigeria took the lead in the 67th minute when captain William Troost-Ekong calmly converted a penalty awarded after a foul on Victor Osimhen. However, South Africa fought back, equalizing in the 86th minute through Teboho Mokoena’s penalty after a controversial VAR decision.
Despite South Africa being reduced to 10 men in extra time following Grant Kekana’s red card, neither side could break the deadlock. The game ultimately went to penalties, where Nwabali emerged as the hero for Nigeria, saving two crucial spot-kicks to secure their place in the final.
Nigeria‘s victory sets up a highly anticipated final showdown, where they will face the winner of the Ivory Coast vs. DR Congo semifinal. With a chance to claim their fourth AFCON title, Nigeria will be eager to seize the opportunity and etch their name in African football history.
Meanwhile, South Africa will regroup and prepare for the third-place playoff against the loser of the Ivory Coast vs. DR Congo match. Despite the disappointment of missing out on the final, South Africa will aim to finish the tournament on a high note and secure a podium finish.