LIVE UPDATES: Nigeria 1-1 South Africa (2023 AFCON semis)
Nigeria and South Africa are set to lock horns on as they slug it out for a place in the final of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON).
This will, however, be the fourth encounter between both sides in the AFCON, with the Super Eagles winning the previous three games with an aggregate score of 8-1.
So far, both sides have had an impressive run to the semi-final – though with Nigeria edging South Africa as the Super Eagles remain unbeaten while Bafana Bafana suffered an early loss against Mali.
Going into the game, the Super Eagles of Nigeria head coach Jose Peseiro made only one change to his starting line up against South Africa with Bright Osayi-Samuel replacing Zaidu Sanusi who is ruled out of the clash due to a knock.
The Portuguese gaffer maintained faith with his 3-4-3 formation with impressive Stanley Nwabali in goal; William Troost-Ekong, Semi Ajayi and Calvin Bassey in defence.
Nigeria (3-4-3): Nwabali; Ajayi, Troost-Ekong, Bassey; Osayi-Samuel, Onyeka, Iwobi, Aina; Lookman, Osimhen, Simon.
South Africa (4-3-3): Williams; Kekana, Xulu, Mvala, Modiba; Mokoena, Zwane, Sithole; Mudau, Makgopa, Tau.
1′ Victor Osimhen with an early chance, intercepted by the South African defence
4' A cagey start as both teams ease their way into this contest. Neither side have been free-scoring in this tournament to date so we may not be expecting a flurry of goals.
8′ Semi Ajayi with a fine move down the flank, but his cross way over the heads of his teammates in the box. So far, Super Eagles with more of the possession.
10' Nigeria progress the ball down the right well but a poor cross from Aina is overhit and flies out for a goal-kick.
13′ Sithole with a shot from outside the box for South Africa which is saved calmly by Nwabali
14' CLOSE! A dangerous ball in from Aina almost finds Ekong in the box. Williams flaps at the cross and is unable to punch it clear but the ball flies out for a throw-in.
15' South Africa’s first effort of the game as Sithole lies one up from range. It’s straight down the throat of Nwabali who makes the comfortable save.
16' More like it from South Africa, their first real attack of the match. Ball played back to Sithole, goes for goal from about 25 yards out. Catches the strike well, straight at the goalkeeper though.
19' Modiba and Simon already having a real battle on that wing. The Nigeria man looks to use his strength to go on the outside, tries to just win a corner, but it’s rock solid from Modiba to hold him off.
At the other end, Makgopa goes down in the box. Penalised himself for handball, as he threw his arms up to appeal!
22' Long spell of Nigeria possession, not a huge amount of pace to the attack though. South Africa then win it back, long ball down the channel for Tau to race onto. He would have been away, but Nwabili reads it and rushes off his line.
24' Makgopa with the foul, free-kick for Nigeria in a really good position. Aina and Lookman standing over it. Bit of a delay, Osimhen and Sithole warned for getting a bit too close to each other. Ball swung in eventually, Ajayi gets up well at the back post but a comfortable save for Williams.
26' Brilliant from Ajayi at the other end! Zwane looks to be driving into space in the box, but the Nigerian defender slides in and pokes the ball away. Crucial touch.
28' Big chance! South Africa are away down the right, Mudau played in. He’s got Zwane completely free in the middle, waiting for it to be squared, but Onyeka gets back and makes the interception.
30' South Africa all of a sudden enjoying a dangerous spell, their best of the match. Ball falls for Tau on the edge of the box, space for the shot but it’s straight at Nwabili.
31' Fair to say Osimhen isn’t lacking in confidence...South Africa lose it, Osimhen is about ten yards inside his own half but looks up and sees Williams off his line.
32' Goes for an incredibly ambitious effort, shot is charged down though. Would have been something very special. Both sides will be happy enough with the start to this match. It’s been tight, as we expected.
34' Water break done, pattern of the match is swiftly resumed. South Africa knocking the ball around at the back, no real pressure on them.
36' Ball over the top once more from South Africa, Tau is in.
38' Nigeria with their first attack in a while, better from the Super Eagles.
39' Ball launched forward, sensational touch from Tau to lay it off for Makgopa.
40' Chance, South Africa! WHAT A SAVE BY STANLEY NWABALI! He dives full-stretch to his left for a one-handed stop from Evidence Makgopa's effort! It's a well-struck ball from straight-on, bending away from the Nigerian goalkeeper, but he launches his body within range for the save. We expected a goalkeeper battle, and we're getting one!
41' South African centre-backs are being allowed a lot of time on the ball, and it’s allowing them to play those long balls over the top that are causing Nigeria problems.
45' Chance, Nigeria! Victor Osimhen fires wide of the far post! Ademola Lookman carried the ball into the area and crosses to Osimhen whose header is put off target. That's a big chance!
Half Time: Nigeria 0-0 South Africa
Back from recess: Up and running again. Time to find out if there will be a winner in normal time!
47' Nigeria on the front foot at the start of this half. Aina makes a good run down the left, decent ball in but it’s headed away with Lookman lurking in the middle. Osimhen had gone down in the box seconds before, but there were no real appeals.
49' South Africa threaten to break, Makgopa with a run down the middle and he very nearly gets the pass, but Ekong manages to intercept on the stretch.
50' Nigeria have put South Africa under real pressure to start the half, they are pummeling the penalty area with crosses and set-piece deliveries, but to no joy so far, as Bafana Bafana continually reject their advances.
57' Another header for Victor Osimhen goes wide of the net! He leaps high enough to connect with another cross from deep, but he's put under enough pressure by a defender that he can't quite get the right contact. The Super Eagles have come out of halftime with real intent!
62' Nigeria have another effort go begging, as Alex Iwobi sets up Frank Onyeka for a shot from distance, but the Brentford midfielder rushes it, hitting it first-time instead of taking a touch to settle, and he lashes it miles wide, nowhere close.
63' Double change for Nigeria. Iwobi and Simon off, Chukwueze and Yusuf are on for the Super Eagles.
64' PENALTY NIGERIA! Brilliant from Osimhen! Victor Osimhen wins a penalty on the edge of the 18-yard box, and the Super Eagles have a chance to take the lead!
66' GOAL! Nigeria 1-0 South Africa | William Troost-Ekong! And captain Troost-Ekong makes no mistake! Nigeria lead in the semi-final.
85' GOAL! Nigeria 2-0 South Africa | Victor Osimhen. Oh no goal disallowed!
PENALTY FOR SOUTH AFRICA!
INCREDIBLE. Osimhen’s goal does not stand - Bafana Bafana with a massive opportunity to level the match up.89' GOAL! Nigeria 1-1 South Africa | Teboho Mokoena! MOKOENA SCORES! It’s level in this remarkable semi-final!
Extra time underway
We’ve had 105 minutes, still it’s level. Only 15 more to go, and then it will be penalties. Both sides have had chances, impossible to predict how it finishes.
108' Not a great clearance from Bassey, corner for South Africa. Mokoena with a great ball in, header from Ajayi to clear is just as good though.
110' Osimhen has been substituted and Moffi is on in his place. The Napoli striker’s night is over.
112' Moffi is clean through, this is Nigeria’s chance. Is he surely fouled?! Referee waves away the appeals though. VAR checking this.
VAR gives it a look, and sure enough, RED CARD for Kekana who doesn't get a touch on the ball, and brings Moffi down! It's a last-man foul, and South Africa are down to 10 men! South Africa make an immediate change to accommodate the turn of events, as Zakhele Lepasa, only just on as a second-half substitute, is sacrificed for captain Nkosinathi Sibisi.
120' Yellow card to William Troost-Ekong who yanks Mihlali Mayambela down before the South Africa substitute can counter-attack. It's a professional foul as he absorbs a booking to prevent Bafana Bafana from breaking away.
Extra time over. Penalties underway
Nigeria to take the first penalty.
GOAL! Nigeria 1-0 South Africa
Moffi gets the Super Eagles off to a perfect start!
MISS! Nigeria 1-0 South Africa
Mokoena scored in normal time... CAN’T SCORE HERE! Huge save. Advantage Nigeria.
GOAL! Nigeria 2-0 South Africa
Omeruo strolls up to the ball and rolls it into the bottom corner!
GOAL! Nigeria 2-1 South Africa
Mayambela gets Bafana Bafana on the board!
MISS! Nigeria 2-1 South Africa
AINA CAN’T SCORE! Nigeria lose their advantage, Aina blasts it over the bar.
MISS! Nigeria 2-1 South Africa
But South Africa can’t level it up! Makgopa with a weak penalty, easily saved.
GOAL! Nigeria 3-1 South Africa
Troost-Ekong, Nigeria’s first-choice penalty taker. And he converts! Nigeria are closing in on the final.
GOAL! Nigeria 3-2 South Africa
Mvala keeps South Africa in it! Nigeria will win the shootout if they score their next penalty though....
NIGERIA ARE THROUGH TO THE AFCON FINAL!
Iheanacho... WINS IT! Nigeria win the shootout 4-2 and they are through to the AFCON final.