Nigeria reaches AFCON final after winning shootout against South Africa

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The thrilling Africa Cup of Nations semi-final between Nigeria and South Africa ended in a 1-1 draw after regular time and went into extra time. Both regular-time goals were scored from penalties, with William Troost-Ekong scoring for Nigeria in the 67th minute, and Teboho Mokoena equalizing for South Africa from a 90th-minute spot-kick. The match ultimately went to a penalty shootout, which Nigeria won 4-2, securing their place in the final. Nigeria will now face either hosts Ivory Coast or the Democratic Republic of Congo in the final on Sunday.

Nigeria’s victory came after an intense and closely fought contest, with competitive performances from both teams. The Super Eagles had a perfect record against South Africa in previous meetings in the Africa Cup of Nations, having won all three encounters. Star forward Victor Osimhen notably returned to the starting lineup for Nigeria and played a key role in the match. The game was not without controversy, as South Africa had a chance to win in added time at the end of regular time but missed the opportunity.

The match also saw a red card for South Africa’s Grant Kekana, who was sent off on 115 minutes for a last-defender foul. Belgium-born South Africa coach Hugo Broos made tactical adjustments, and both teams had their moments in a tense, lively opening half. South Africa displayed resilience and tenacity, with both teams having an equal number of shots at goal, although South Africa had more shots on target, greater possession, and forced more corners. The encounter was marked by dramatic moments, including a disallowed goal for Nigeria, an equalizer from South Africa, and 30 minutes of end-to-end extra time action.

The match ultimately ended in a penalty shootout, where Nigeria emerged victorious. Nigeria’s Kelechi Iheanacho was the hero of the penalty shootout, as his goal secured the Super Eagles’ place in the final. The team’s supporters, both in the stadium and around the world, celebrated the hard-fought victory. Now, all eyes are on Nigeria as they prepare to face their next opponents in the final showdown.

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