In an electrifying semi-final showdown at the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON), Nigeria punched their ticket to the final with a thrilling penalty shootout triumph over South Africa.
The match was a rollercoaster ride of emotions, with intense moments, controversies, and a late equalizing penalty adding to the drama for football fans worldwide.
Nigeria took the lead courtesy of William Troost-Ekong’s coolly converted penalty after Mothobi Mvala’s foul on Victor Osimhen. However, the game took a dramatic turn when Osimhen’s apparent second goal was ruled out by VAR, leading to a penalty for South Africa, which Teboho Mokoena expertly dispatched to level the score at 1-1 in the 90th minute.
The tension escalated in extra time as South Africa’s Grant Kekana received a red card, reducing them to 10 players. With no further goals in extra time, the match headed to a nerve-wracking penalty shootout.
Despite misses from Mokoena and Makgopa for South Africa, Nigeria capitalized on their chances, securing a 4-2 victory on penalties, despite Ola Aina’s miss for the Super Eagles.
With this hard-fought victory, Nigeria, a three-time AFCON champion, advances to the final, eagerly awaiting the winner between Ivory Coast and DR Congo. The gripping encounter epitomized the unpredictability and excitement that the tournament brings to football enthusiasts across the globe.