AFCON 2023: Nigeria’s Super Eagles Qualify for Finals

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Kelechi Iheanacho scored the winning penalty as Nigeria booked their place in the final of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations with a 4-2 shootout win over South Africa. The game in Bouake finished 1-1 following an incredible end to normal time, which involved the referee going to his video monitor to disallow a Victor Osimhen strike which would have put the super eagles 2-1 up – and instead awarding a penalty to South Africa.

Teboho Mokoena converted from the spot in the 90th minute to send the game into a goalless period of extra time where Bafana Bafana defender Grant Kekana was sent off late on. But Mokoena was one of two South African players to see their spot-kicks saved by goalkeeper Stanley Nwabali as the Super Eagles triumphed to reach Sunday’s final, where they will once again, play Ivory Coast after the hosts defeated DR Congo in the other semi-final clash.

Both sides have already met in the group stage with Nigeria coming out on top.

William Troost-Ekong had opened the scoring for the West Africans with a penalty midway through the second half, and will now be looking to captain Nigeria to its fourth continental title – and a first since 2013.

South Africa head coach, Hugo Broos feeling his side played better against Nigeria reacted saying his side deserved to win the game.

“Football can be hard sometimes; when you see the performance of my team today, and then there is penalties, and then you lose the penalties, and you are not in the finals, it’s hard to accept that because we play very good game today.

“I think we were the best team in the first half; we got the best chances. Nigeria didn’t have any chance. Second half they have few chances, which resulted in a goal, and we changed something tactically, and we could comeback.

”We created more chances, which means if we had scored, we would have been in the final and not Nigeria,” he added. The Belgian tactician hailed his team for what has been a great tournament for them. “It’s a big disappointment for everyone; we believe we played a very good game, not just today but throughout the tournament. I’m proud of my players, the disappointment is this but the proudness is that,” he concluded. South Africa will now face D.R Congo in the third place playoff on Saturday, February 10.

 

 

 

 

 

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