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.
William Troost-Ekong’s penalty secured victory for Nigeria against hosts Ivory Coast and swung Group A back in the Super Eagles’ favour at the Africa Cup of Nations.
After drawing their opening game against Equatorial Guinea, Nigeria were good value for this narrow victory, although it only came after a debatable second-half penalty when Ousmane Diomande was deemed to have clipped Victor Osimhen. Captain Troost-Ekong stepped up to score from the spot, and Nigeria were able to then keep Ivory Coast at bay and leapfrog them in the table into second.
Roared on by a raucous crowd, the Ivorians pushed hard for an equaliser but failed to create a clear chance against a solid Super Eagles defence.
Victor Osimhen’s best opportunity came after just eight minutes when he latched on to a pass from Samuel Chukwueze but the Napoli forward failed to keep a bouncing ball down, sending his effort high over the bar.
Less than a minute later, Nigeria goalkeeper Stanley Nwabali was quickly off his line to use his body to make a point-blank save from Christian Kouame.
Ivorian defender Evan Ndicka then failed to connect properly with a half-volley from near the penalty spot, allowing Nwabali to comfortably gather.
After the fast start, the pace dwindled as the first half wore on, and the deadlock was ultimately broken early in the second period after VAR played its hand.
Diomande’s challenge on Osimhen after 51 minutes was fractionally late, catching the African player of the year and sending him to the turf.
With Osimhen down, the game carried on for around one minute until Algerian referee Mustapha Ghorbal was called over to review the challenge on the monitor.
Having changed his decision, Super Eagles captain Troost-Ekong was the surprise choice to assume penalties duties, with the former Watford defender choosing power over placement to beat Yahia Fofana.
The tournament hosts failed to find a way back into the game, with Seko Fofana and Franck Kessie blazing efforts well off target and Ndicka sending a header from a free-kick wide.
The Elephants’ first ever defeat against Nigeria on home soil means Ivory Coast become the first host nation to lose an Afcon group game in 18 fixtures going back to 2012.
Equatorial Guinea remain top and face Ivory Coast on Monday, at the same time Nigeria will fancy their chances against Guinea-Bissau.
With third perhaps enough to qualify for the knockouts, Equatorial Guinea, Ivory Coast and Nigeria can all still progress – but defeat on Thursday certainly ramps up the pressure on the hosts heading into those final round of Group A fixtures.
PLAYER RATINGS Ivory Coast: Y. Fofana 6; Ndicka 6, Diomande 6, Konan 6; S. Fofana 5, Aurier 5, Sangare 5, Kessie 5, Kouame 6, Boga 5, Krasso 5. Subs: Singo 6, Bamba 6, Pepe 6, Diakite n/a, Konate n/a.
PLAYER OF THE MATCH – CALVIN BASSEY (NIGERIA) A tough call with a handful of deserving candidates, including Ademola Lookman and match-winner Troost-Ekong, but we’ll give it to Fulham’s Calvin Bassey. The defender was a rock for Nigeria, putting in a proper shift and clearly enjoying the battle.
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.
Reports have emerged that Tammy Abraham is set to accept an England call if he is selected in Gareth Southgate’s next squad – dashing Nigeria’s hopes of securing the striker’s international future.
Nigeria have tried to convince Abraham, who has two friendly caps for England, to switch his international allegiance.
According to Sportsmail, the Football Association have requested Abraham’s medical records for Chelsea – a clear indication that he is under serious consideration for October’s Euro 2020 qualifiers against Czech Republic and Bulgaria.
Southgate announces his squad on Thursday, with Abraham hopeful his excellent start to the season will be enough for him to land a recall.
As of yet, the striker, who is 22 on Wednesday, is yet to publicly clarify which country he wants to play for.
But it is understood Abraham, who qualifies for Nigeria through his father, will answer England’s call if he is picked by Southgate this week.
Abraham would not be able to switch to Nigeria if he features for England in the forthcoming games against the Czech Republic and Bulgaria because they are competitive fixtures.
The Blues striker has netted seven goals in the Premier League this season, which makes him the highest scoring Englishman in the top flight.
Southgate revealed following England’s recent win over Kosovo that Abraham was firmly on his radar.
There are doubts over the form of Jesse Lingard and Dele Alli should Southgate decide to make space for an extra striker by dropping a midfielder.
Nigeria are also interested in poaching Abraham’s club team-mate Fikayo Tomori, who has represented England and Canada at youth level.