The Super of Eagles of Nigeria have progressed into the final of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations after beating South Africa on penalties.
Chippa United goalkeeper Stanley Nwabali was the hero on the night as the Super Eagles edged Bafana 4-2 on penalties.
The Chippa United shot-stopper was outstanding as he made crucial saves in regular time and two saves in the penalty shoot-out.
South Africa started the match the better side as they dominate possession and created a couple of chances to go ahead in the game.
While the Super Eagles struggled to retain possession, the Bafana Bafana took advantage of the sloppiness as they explored the spaces behind Super Eagles defense.
Evidence Makgopa could have given Bafana Bafana the lead a few minutes before halftime but his curler from the edge of the box was saved by Nwabali who parried the ball away.
The Super Eagles got into the match eventually in the second half as they put pressure on the defense of Bafana Bafana.
Mathobi Mvala brought down Victor Osimhen in the box in the 64th minute and the Super Eagles were awarded a penalty which captain Williams Troost-Ekong stepped up and converted.
Victor Osimhen thought he had sealed the victory for Nigeria late in the game as Nigeria tore the defense of South Africa apart via a counter-attack.
However, his goal was ruled offside from the build up as Alhassan Yusuf fouled Percy Tau inside Super Eagles box in an attempt to clear the ball out of danger.
In a twist of event, South Africa were awarded a penalty in added time. Bafana captain Teboho Mokeona covertwd which sent the match into extra time.
The introduction of Aribo, Alhassan Yusuf, Samuel Chukwueze, Joe Aribo, Kelechi Iheanacho and Tarem Moffi injected a fresh buzz of energy into the team.
Tarem Moffi could have won the match late in the second half of extra-time but the OGC Nice striker waa brought down on the edge of the box – a foul that got Grant Kekana sent off.
The penalty shootout was quite pulsating as Ola Aina’s miss almost dashed the hopes of the Super Eagles after Stanley Nwabali saved Teboho Mokeona penalty.
However, Stanley Nwabali saved Evidence Makgopa penalty to give the Super Eagles another lifeline to seal the game.
Substitute Kelechi Iheanacho made no mistake as he took the decisive penalty that sent the Super Eagles into their 8th Africa Cup of Nations final.
The Super Eagles will take on host Cote D’Ivoire in the final on Sunday. Cote d’Ivoire defeated DR Congo 1 nil in the other Semi-final fixture.
Jose Peseiro’s men will look to rewrite history on Sunday as they take on the Elephants who are writing one of the AFCON stories that might go down one of the most iconic on the history of the competition.