Nigeria narrowly beat Hugo Broos' South Africa in tense semi-final
Nigeria became the first team to qualify for the final of the Africa Cup of Nations on Wednesday night. They ended the fairytale of South Africa and their Belgian coach Hugo Broos with a 4-2 penalty shoot-out victory in the semi-finals, after the match had finished 1-1.
Having eliminated Morocco, Senegal and Egypt, the Nigerians were the favourites to win the final and they looked to be living up to their billing from the outset. However, it took more than an hour for the game to get going.
Nigeria took the lead on 67 minutes when former KAA Gent player William Troost-Ekong scored from the spot. Just before half-time, star player Victor Osimhen looked to have wrapped up the game for the Nigerians, but his goal was disallowed after VAR intervention. VAR had spotted a foul at the other end of the pitch in Nigeria's penalty area when reviewing footage prior to the goal. Teboho Mokoena scored from the resulting penalty to level the game.
Broos' South Africa had a chance to win the game in stoppage time, but Khuliso Mudau shot wide of an open goal. No goals were scored in extra time, and Nigeria won the penalty shoot-out.
The final will be played on Sunday. Nigeria will face the winners of the other semi-final between hosts Côte d'Ivoire and DR Congo.
Nigeria have won the Africa Cup of Nations three times, most recently in 2013. South Africa have been to two finals, winning one.
Nigeria forward Victor Osimhen © PHOTO ISSOUF SANOGO / AFP