Nigeria Advances to AFCON Final with Thrilling Shootout Win over South Africa

Kelechi Iheanacho’s goal secured Nigeria’s 4-2 penalty shootout triumph against South Africa in a gripping Africa Cup of Nations semi-final held in Bouake.

The game ended in a 1-1 draw after extra time, and the three-time champions will now compete in the final on Sunday against either hosts Ivory Coast or the Democratic Republic of Congo, who will play later today.

Both regular-time goals were penalties, with captain William Troost-Ekong netting for Nigeria in the 67th minute, and Teboho Mokoena equalizing for South Africa with a 90th-minute spot-kick.

Nigeria seemed to have scored a second goal through a tap-in from star forward Victor Osimhen, but it was disallowed.

However, play was brought back to the other end of the field after VAR alerted the Egyptian referee that South African Percy Tau had been fouled in the area, and the match official agreed.

In added time at the end of regular time, Khuliso Mudau had a chance to win for South Africa, but he shot over the bar after goalkeeper Stanley Nwabali parried a Mokoena free kick.

South Africa ended the game with 10 men when Grant Kekana was sent off on 115 minutes for a last-defender foul.

Nigeria came into the game with a perfect record against South Africa in the premier African football competition, having won all three previous meetings. The Super Eagles defeated Bafana Bafana (The Boys) 2-0 in a 2000 semi-final in Nigeria, 4-0 in a group match four years later in Tunisia, and 2-1 in a 2019 quarter-final in Egypt.

Nigeria coach Jose Peseiro made one change to the team that defeated Angola 1-0, bringing in Bright Osayi-Samuel for left-back Zaidu Sanusi, who did not train on the eve of the match.

Napoli star forward Osimhen started for the three-time champions after recovering from an abdominal discomfort that delayed his arrival in Bouake from Abidjan.

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