A late goal from William Trust Ekong has helped the Super Eagles of Nigeria end Bafana Bafana’s ride in the 2019 AFCON tournament in Egypt.
As it happened:
The Nigerians first came close in the 3rd minute.
In the 6th minute Thamsanqa Innocent brought down Collins Chidozie in the South African half of the pitch at the expense of a set piece that was carefully defended by the Bafana Bafana of South Africa
In the 10th minute, there had been no real goal mouth action except Christopher Lorch run and wide shot.
Lebo Mothiba found space in the South African box but in rushing in he committed a foul causing Moroccan referee Redouane Jiyed to issue him the first caution of the day in the 13th minute.
An Ahmed Musa foul on Thamsanqa Innocent in the 14th minutes stop the game for the South African defender to be treated in his own half and he left pitch before returning 2 minutes later.
A fine long range pass from the back in the 16th minute put South Africa on the front foot as they got close to the Nigerian back line and tested to open to no avail and on reversed to the back to come back again only to put the ball out for a goal kick.
A good combination of Captain Ahmed Musa and Jamilu Collins in the 19th minute nearly put Nigeria in but the final pass led them down.
Beautiful combination play involving Alex Iwobi, Ahmed Musa and Odion Ighalo 2 minutes later in the edge of South Africa box was well defended, cleared and the ball hit the hand of Ighalo on it’s way out forcing the referee to give South Africa a set piece just outside their own 18 meters area.
Ahmed Musa put long range throw in the 24th minute on the head of Alex Iwobi but the Strong Bafana Bafana back line gathered.
In the 26th minute of play good solo run from Alex Iwobi and Ahmed Musa found 20 year old forward Samuel Chukwuezie, his first attempt was pushed back to him and from his second chance he made it 1 nil for the Super Eagles of Nigeria.
Grenot Rhor’s Eagles had their feathers well spread as they were in front for the 3rd game in four in competition so far.
The Nigerians will camp in the South African half for a good portion of minutes after the goal, breaking from the counter with Samuel Chukwuezie’s and Ahmed Musa’s pace creating all sorts of difficulties for the opposition defense especially with 2 good runs in the 30th and 32nd minutes from Samuel and Ahmed respectively.
South Africa won a 35th minute set peice from wide out but Sandile Hlanti set piece was well defended by Odion Ighalo setting Nigeria on the way to another well worked counter with Musa who got on the edge of the box and put in a reserve ball to Samuel Chukwuezie but the Villarreal man missed the target with his shot.
Ahmed and Alex will again combine to good effect in the 37th minutes but they met a strong South African captain in Thulani Hlatshwayo this time around.
A brief lapse in concentration after a 39th minute set piece for South Africa was put into the box nearly gifted South Africa a chance but the referee awarded a foul against SA.
Samuel Chukwuezie in his usual runs beat two men and got into the South African box but brilliant defensive work helped to put ball away.
In the 43rd minute Ogenekaro Peter Etebo gave away a dangerous set piece on the edge of the Nigerian box but the set piece from Bongani Zungu was well defended.
With no meaningful goal-mouth action in the one minute of additional time in the first half the referee sent both teams to the changing room at half time with the Super Eagles of Nigeria leading the Bafana Bafana by 1 goal to nil.
The Bafana Bafana got the second half on the way and in the first 2 minutes they monopolized possession until in the 3rd minute when Leicester City man Ndidi Wilfred gathered things for the Eagles and played in Odion Jude Ighalo who was brought down at the expense of a Nigerian set piece and a yellow card for…
Peter Etebo took the set piece in the 50th minutes and drove it towards the top corner of the South Africa net but a finger tip touch from goalkeeper Dareen Keet pushed it unto the post.
Ahmed Musa will come knocking with a good run into the box but his low cross was put away for a corner in favor of the Eagles Chukwu Eze will drop deep and pick the pieces again for the Super Eagles played in Ahmed Musa but the attempt to connect with his mate was well read by the SA backline.
The man of the day put in a great cross in the 10th minutes but the fine ball begging for a contact didn’t get the desired contact.
Coach Stuart Baxter of South Africa made a 56th minute substitution bringing in Themba Zwane for Christopher Lorch.
Alex Iwobi’s fine 59th minutes pass to Ahmed Musa left him in space but the quick recovery from Thulani got the ball off the forward.
Playmaker Percy Tau in a quiet evening got himself in trouble with the referee following a foul that ssaw his name going into the books of the match official in the 61th minutes.
Lacking options in thr 65th minutes Dean Furman had to come back with the ball from the midfield to restart with his captain and central defender Thulani who transported the ball forward until it fell to Percy Tau who’s cross turn shot was collected like a gift by goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi in the Nigeria goal.
A fine solo run by captain Ahmed Musa in the 68th minutes ended with a great cross in that did get the contact it needed.
A fine Percy Tau was put in for South Africa and Zungu slotted it in the 71st minutes to end 1 all.
Sandile Hlanti was booked in the 75th minute for a rough tackle on Musa.
Another trademark Musa Musa run in the 76th minute put the South Africa defense in difficulty but his cross was wayword.
In the 79th minutes Samuel Chukwueze won possession in the midfield and played in Alex Iwobi who got into the box but shot wide.
Ahmed Musa will be replaced by another forward in Simon Daddyu Moses at the 80th minute.
Simon immediately got into action and won a corner for Nigeria in the 81st minute but when the corner came in a foul gave away possession to SA.
An 84th minute fine passing series from the South African team ended on the feet on Lebo but his weak shot from inside the Nigeria box was gathered by goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi.
In the 81st minute coach Stuart Baxter brought in Lars V. for Lebo Mothiba.
Lars came close seconds after his introduction he tried a short from inside the box but the referee stopped play for a foul against him.
A fine run from Simon Moses in the 89th minute gave Nigeria a chance from a corner, the first corner was spilled but the second corner was bundled in Udinese Center back William Trust Ekong to put Nigeria back in front.
A fine 90th minute run from Samuel Chukwueze gave Nigeria another chance following his inch perfect pass to Ighalo Odion but goalkeeper Darren Keet came out for to stop Ighalo from getting his 4th in the tournament.
In additional time coach Grenot Rhor pull out Alex Iwobi and threw in Leon Balogun and a minute later the referee ended it all as the Super Eagles match on to the semi final after a brilliant 2-1 win over the Bafana Bafana of South Africa.
Angu Lesley in Cairo