Nigeria continued their stranglehold over South Africa at Africa Cup of Nations tournaments, with a 2-1 win at Cairo International Stadium on Wednesday evening, to book their place in the 2019 tournament semifinals.
The Super Eagles beat South Africa at both the 2000 and 2004 Afcon tournaments and made it three from three at Africa’s showpiece in the Egyptian capital.
Following a rather cagey start to the clash, Nigeria opened the scoring through Samuel Chukwueze in the 27th minute.
The Villarreal winger saw his initial attempt blocked by Buhle Mkhwanazi, but he showed great composure to slot home the rebound.
Chukwueze almost doubled his country’s lead moments before the break, but after weaving his way past Sifiso Hlanti the attacker had his goal bound effort blocked by Dean Furman.
Nigeria continued their dominance following the interval and were only denied a second by the outstretched arm of Rowen Williams who pulled off a superb save to deny Peter Etebo’s free-kick from bulging the back of the net.
Bafana Bafana duly found the equaliser with their first chance of the match as Bongani Zungu nodded a looping header past Daniel Akpeyi. The linesman initial chalked the goal off, but after consulting VAR, the match official rightfully overturned the decision.
Nigeria, though, would regain their lead in the 89th minute. With the game seemingly heading for an additional 30 minutes of extra-time, William Troost-Ekong popped up at the far post to poke home the ball after Ronwen Williams failed to punch clear Moses Simon’s corner-kick.
The Super Eagles will next face either Algeria or Ivory Coast for a place in the final.
Nigeria (1) 2 (Chukwueze 27′ Troost-Ekong 89′)
South Africa (0) 1 (Zungu 71′)
Nigeria: Akpeyi; Collins, Ekong, Awaziem, Omeruo, Ndidi, Etebo, Iwobi (Balogun 90+2′), Musa (Simon 81′), Chukwueze, Ighalo.
South Africa: Williams; Hlanti, Mkhwanazi, Hlatshwayo, Mkhize, Furman, Mokotjo, Zungu, Lorch (Zwane 58′), Tau, Mothiba (Veldwijk 86′).