After 11 Years wait of been in an African Cup of Nations championship final, the Super Eagles have proved their mettle as a force to reckon with in the continent by defeating high flying Bafana Bafana of South Africa in a pulsating Semi Final match at the Bouake Stadium in Côte d’Ivoire.
It took Penalties for Nigeria to zoom into the AFCON final after a 1-1 draw score line for the entire 120 minutes of football action.
After a goalless first half with Nigeria creating few chances, while the South Africans tested the Nigerian goalkeeper, Stanley Nwabali in several occasions, making him to make crucial saves.
It took 67 Minutes to get the much needed goal courtesy of a spot kick converted by William Troost Ekong after Victor Osimhen was brought down by Mothobi Mvala.
The Super Eagles thought they have doubled their lead when Osimhen tapped in a low cross from Samuel Bright Osayi, but the Video Assistant Referee cancelled the goal, citing an infringement in the Super Eagles box, as Yusuf Alhassan fouled a South African player.
Teboho Mokoena converted the resulting penalty to give South Africa the much needed eqauliser.
The South Africans could have scored a last gasp goal as Nwabali parried a free kick to the path of a Bafana Bafana player who ballooned the ball over the bar.
The game however went into extra time, with South Africa slowing the pace of the game, while the Super Eagles mount pressure.
This paid off as South Africa’s Grant Kekana fouled Terem Moffi who replaced Victor Osimhen leading to him been red carded, but the resulting freekick was not converted by Kelechi Iheanacho.
As the game went into penalties, Teboho Mokoena and Evidence Magkopa lost their spot kicks, while William Troost Ekong, Terem Moffi, Kenneth Omeruo and Kelechi Iheanacho converted their Spot kicks while Ola Aina lost his.
Coach Jose Peseiro started the match with his regulars first eleven but Samuel Bright Osayi came in for the injured Zaidu Sanusi in the starting line, while Samuel Chukwueze, Joe Aribo, Terem Moffi, Kenneth Omeruo, Kelechi Iheanacho and Yusuf Alhassan were substitutes used in the game coming in for Alex Iwobi, Frank Onyeka, Ademola Lookman, Moses Simon and Victor Osimhen.
With this victory, the Super Eagles await the winner of the match between Democratic Republic of Congo and Côte d’Ivoire in the final scheduled for Sunday, February 11th, 2024.