Ekong match-winner silences South Africa as Nigeria cruise to AFCON Semi-final


Nigeria defeated South Africa 2-1 to reach the semi-finals of the Africa Cup of Nations courtesy a 89th winner from Center Half William Troost-Ekong.

Ekong ran into the box unmarked as he turned in a Moses Simon cross with a minute of regulation time left on the clock.


South Africa gave themselves a life line in the second-half through Bongani Zungu (71′), after falling behind 1-0 from a Samuel Chukwueze strike in the 27th minute.


Samuel Chukwueze scored his first international goal to give Nigeria a first-half lead against South Africa in a quarter-final of the Africa Cup of Nations.

Alex Iwobi teed-up the winger, who hit a rebound from close range after his initial effort was blocked.

Nigeria dominated the opening proceedings of the encounter, but neither side had created any clear cut chance or record a shot on target until the 27th minute.


It was a tactical game for the most part of the early proceedings, with the sides playing cautiously, while trying to exploit openings in the flanks.


Meanwhile, South Africa controlled the tempo of the game after going behind with a 57-43% possession, but, they had failed to register a shot on target.


In the second-half Bafana Bafana came out of the blocks the fastest, keeping possession and forcing the Eagles to defend deep.


Despite the Nigerian side creating several chances that went begging, it was South Africa who responded first.


The Eagles conceded too many fouls deep in their own area and one resulted in the goal as Zungu headed to the far post beating Daniel Akpeyi.


However it was a contentious moment, as Moroccan Referee Rédouane Jiyed had to consult VAR to ascertain the validity of the goal.


The Video Replay showed the resulting cross had come off the back of a Nigerian player; Odion Ighalo, and after a few minutes, he pointed to the center circle.


Finely poised at the point, both teams threw in everything they had and it was the decision to replace captain Ahmed Musa for Moses Simon that eventually paid off, for Gernot Rohr.


A second corner kick and it fell to Ekong, who brushed the ball in with his shin, a goal that crushed South African spirits.


The game was Nigeria’s third victory over South Africa in the competition – 2000 and 2004 – and they progress to the semi-final where they next face the winner between Ivory Coast or Algeria.


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