BOUAKE, COTE D’IVOIRE: In a nail-biting match that kept fans on the edge of their seats, the Nigerian national football team, commonly known as the Super Eagles, clinched a stunning victory against South Africa’s Bafana Bafana on Wednesday night, February 7, 2024, to advance to the final of the ongoing 2023 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Cote d’Ivoire.
In a tense encounter at the Stade Bouake, the three-time champions broke the deadlock in the 67th minute through a flawless penalty kick by Skipper William Troost-Ekong after Nigerian forward Victor Osimhen was fouled in the South African box.
Osimhen, named African Footballer of the Year, appeared to secure victory with his second goal of the tournament in the 85th minute, but the goal was disallowed following a VAR review for a pre-goal infringement.
Just when victory seemed assured for the favorites, Bafana Bafana leveled the score on the stroke of 90 minutes with a penalty kick converted by Teboho Mokoena, sending the match into extra time.
The additional 30 minutes yielded no goals, leading to a thrilling shootout, which Nigeria ultimately won after goalkeeper Nwabali saved two of South Africa’s kicks.
Nigeria will now face either the Democratic Republic of Congo or hosts Cote d’Ivoire in Sunday’s final.
The second semi-final is scheduled to kick off at 8 o’clock GMT (9:00 p.m. Nigerian time).