It’s another fantastic cross from Adingra and it’s a striker’s finish. Instinctive, he knows where the goal is, Sebastien Haller sticks his leg out.
The outstanding Adingra beat Aina yet again on the left and hammered a superb cross towards the near post. Haller got across Troost-Ekong and improvised ingeniously, lifting his leg well above waist height to stud the ball into the far corner.
William Troost-Ekong put Nigeria into the lead from the penalty spot midway through the second half, before South Africa earned a spot-kick of their own in the final minute of the 90 and it was converted by Teboho Mokoena.
The penalty had been awarded after Victor Osimhen thought he had scored to put Nigeria 2-0 ahead but the referee was called over to the pitch-side monitor by the Video Assistant Referee and instead awarded a penalty to South Africa for an earlier foul
South Africa lost defender Grant Kekana to a red card in extra time as Nigeria put them under constant pressure, and then lost their nerve too in the shootout as Nwabali saved from Mokoena and Evidence Makgopa.
“It was a very good victory against a very good team, the most organised team at the tournament. We deserved to win, but they [South Africa] deserved to win too,” Nigeria coach Jose Peseiro told reporters.
“We were better in the penalty shootout, so my players deserve it. The team fought well.”
Nwabali plays his club football in South Africa at topflight side Chippa United and was a surprise pick for the tournament having only won a single cap prior to the start of 2024 in a 4-0 loss to Mexico nearly three years ago.
But he has been a revelation having only conceded two goals in his side’s six games and earned them a first final place since they lifted the Cup of Nations trophy in 2013.
South Africa will rue missed chances in the 90 minutes, not least in the dying seconds when right back Khuliso Mudau fired over the bar with the goal gaping, but must now settle for a place in the bronze-medal match on Saturday.
It is a seventh win for Nigeria in 16 continental semifinals after they had advanced from only one of their previous six, seen as something of a curse for the side.
Napoli striker Osimhen won his side a penalty as he went down under the challenge of Mothobi Mvala, in what was an easy decision for Egyptian referee Amin Omar.
Troost-Ekong held his nerve to send his spot-kick down the middle of the goal to put them ahead in the 67th minute.
Nigeria thought they had a second on 85 minutes through Osimhen, but as they celebrated, VAR alerted the on-field referee to an earlier foul on Tau in the Nigerian box.
Nigeria’s effort was chalked off and South Africa were awarded a penalty after a review, which Mokoena fired home before Mudau fluffed his golden chance to win it and the game went to extra time and penalties.
“Football can be hard when you see the performance of my team, and then there is penalties and you lose the game and are not in the final. It is hard to accept that, we played a very good game,” South Africa coach Hugo Broos said.
“It is a big disappointment, but I am very proud of my players. I think everyone now knows South Africa as a good team, and that is important.”
Three-time winners Nigeria were given a scare but reached the Africa Cup of Nations final after goalkeeper Stanley Nwabali saved two penalties in the shootout to guide his side to a 4-2 victory over South Africa following a 1-1 draw on Wednesday.
Nigeria had lost five of their previous six semifinals at the continental finals but survived some nervous moments to book a place in Sunday’s decider against hosts Ivory Coast, following their 1-0 win over the Democratic Republic of Congo in Wednesday’s other semifinal.
Nigeria were the first side to book a semifinal berth at the Africa Cup of Nations after Ademola Lookman’s first-half goal ensured a 1-0 win over Angola in the last eight on Friday.
Lookman finished off a flying run down the left by winger Moses Simon, who skipped the challenge of defender Kialonda Gaspar to break free and then teed up his team mate for his third goal of the tournament.
The 26-year-old’s 41st-minute strike at the Felix Houphouet-Boigny Stadium was enough to set up a semi-final meeting on Wednesday against either the Cape Verde Islands or South Africa, who play their quarterfinal on Saturday.
Nigeria have now qualified for the semi-final in 13 of their last 15 Cup of Nations appearances and been elevated to the role of favourites at a tournament where almost all the heavyweight contenders have been dumped out.
Nigeria have qualified for the semi-finals of the Africa Cup of Nations after a narrow 1-0 win over a spirited Angola side. The three-time former winners booked their place in the final four thanks to Ademola Lookman’s first half goal.
Angola hit the post after the break but were unable to fashion a goal of their own as they head home after an otheriwse impressive tournament.
Ademola Lookman scored the only goal as Nigeria edged out Angola to book their place in the Africa Cup of Nations semi-finals.
The Atalanta winger struck four minutes before half-time in Abijdan, turning in Moses Simon’s cross to book a last-four date with either Cape Verde or South Africa.
Bidding to reach their first semi-final, Angola made a bright start and were denied in the fourth minute when Stanley Nwabali kept out Mabululu’s close-range volley.
However, it was Nigeria who hit the front in the 41st minute. Simon skipped away from Kialonda Gaspar’s sliding challenge and squared the ball for Lookman to fire into the roof of the net.
Angola almost responded just before the hour mark. Substitute Zine latched onto Show’s throughball and beat Nwabali, only to see his first-time shot bounce back off the post.
Although VAR denied Victor Osimhen, whose header from Lookman’s free-kick was chalked off for offside, the Super Eagles held out to secure their passage into the semi-finals.
Hosts Ivory Coast eliminated reigning champions Senegal in a penalty shootout to book their place in the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations quarter-finals following a 1-1 draw after extra time in Yamoussoukro.
Franck Kessie, who had scored from the spot four minutes from the end of normal time, converted the winning penalty to seal an extraordinary victory for the hosts, who redeemed themselves after a humiliating group-stage display which culminated in two defeats.
Senegal had made a dream start when Habib Diallo struck in the fourth minute from a Sadio Mane cross.
Ivory Coast, who squeezed into the last 16 as one of the best third-placed teams from the group phase, grew into the match against The Teranga Lions, despite going behind so early.
Diallo, a forward for Saudi Pro League club Al Shabab, profited when Mane swung in an impeccable delivery from the left, bringing the ball down with his chest and firing it into the roof of the net to open the scoring.
Mane was lucky to escape with a caution for a rash challenge five minutes later on Nottingham Forest midfielder Ibrahim Sangare, who had to be stretchered off for treatment before coming back on.
The Elephants began to settle into the game after such a frenetic start, enjoying far more of the first-half possession and pushing for an equaliser, with Seko Fofana and Oumar Diakite both looking lively.
Senegal started the second half as they had the first, Ismaila Sarr’s shot across goal forcing a fingertip save from the diving Yahia Fofana.
Winger Sarr was again at the heart of the action when he felt he had been brought down in the box by Odilon Kossounou, with a Video Assistant Referee (VAR) check deciding there was not enough contact for a penalty to be given.
Ivory Coast’s interim coach Emerse Fae, an emergency appointment following the dismissal of Jean-Louis Gasset last week, brought on forward Sebastian Haller and midfielder Frank Kessie – and the latter made an immediate impact, having a header saved by Edouard Mendy before failing to capitalise on the rebound.
Another substitute, former Arsenal man Nicolas Pepe, also brought a new energy to the hosts, running in behind on two occasions, only to shoot straight at Mendy.
And Pepe proved instrumental in Ivory Coast’s equaliser when he was brought down by Mendy in the box.
Gabonese referee Pierre Atcho initially waved off appeals for a penalty, much to the frustration of the home fans and players.
VAR sent Atcho to the monitor – with Senegal coach Aliou Cisse and one of his assistants picking up a yellow card for their protestations.
Atcho reversed his decision, awarding a spot-kick to Ivory Coast which Kessie duly despatched to Mendy’s left, sending the Charles Konan Banny de Yamoussoukro Stadium into raptures.
After an absorbing 90 minutes, the first period of extra-time also proved eventful.
Ivory Coast, who had restored their self-respect by pushing the holders, saw two glorious chances go awry, Brighton winger Simon Adringa and Forest’s Serge Aurier both missing the target.
At the other end, Mane latched onto a cross to force an instinctive save from Fofana with a shot.
Mane and Pepe were again involved in half-chances in the second period of extra-time but no winner could be found, with Haller, who has been on the comeback trail following an injury, also missing when given a sniff of goal during the dying seconds.
It was left to a penalty shootout to determine whether Senegal – the only side at this Nations Cup to have won all three of their group games – or Ivory Coast, who had never lost three matches in a row at a single tournament, would progress to the quarter-finals.
Kalidou Koulibaly and Pape Matar Sarr both scored their penalties, with Nicolas Pepe and Christian Kouame matching their opponents.
But a miss from Moussa Niakhate handed Ivory Coast the advantage. Sebastien Haller and captain Serge Aurier then scored theirs as much of the crowd willed them on.
Mane kept the shootout alive, blasting his finish past Fofana. But up stepped Kessie to deliver the ultimate redemption for the host nation, who march on to the quarter-finals.
The streets of Cote d’Ivoire’s commercial capital Abidjan were agog on Wednesday as fans discussed and anticipated the epic clash between the Super Eagles of Nigeria and host Cote d’Ivoire on Thursday.
The match is the second for both teams in Group A of the ongoing AFCON 2023.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports, via Vanguard newspaper, that Ivorian fans draped in their orange, white, and green flags were seen dancing, while joints blare music and big screens dot all corners of the city.
Meanwhile, the Ivorian government has declared a public holiday for students as the country plays Nigeria in their second match of the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON), according to Nigeria Info.
Schools have passed this information to parents, as seen by a notice issued by the International English School, Abidjan, while public workers would work half-day.
The Serge Aurier-led Elephants are occupying the topspot in the group after defeating Guinea Bissau 2-0 in their opening game, while the Super Eagles’s match against Equitoria Guinea ended in 1-1 draw.