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Nigeria advances to AFCON final after thrilling shootout win against South Africa

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The game took a contentious turn when VAR intervened, prompting the referee to award a penalty to South Africa after Percy Tau was fouled in the box. Despite the subsequent equalizer, South Africa missed a golden opportunity to clinch victory in regular time, with Khuliso Mudau failing to convert in added time. Adding to the tension, South Africa played with ten men in extra time after Grant Kekana was sent off for a last-defender foul.

Nigeria, maintaining a flawless record against South Africa in the tournament, demonstrated their prowess once again, having previously triumphed in three encounters. Coach Jose Peseiro’s squad, buoyed by their earlier 1-0 victory over Angola, made a tactical adjustment, introducing Bright Osayi-Samuel into the lineup.

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The match witnessed thrilling moments on both ends, with Semi Ajayi’s header and Stanley Nwabali’s impressive save denying South Africa opportunities, while Percy Tau’s efforts for South Africa fell short. In a pivotal moment, Troost-Ekong converted a penalty midway through the second half, breaking the deadlock in favor of Nigeria.

Despite South Africa’s determined efforts, including Makgopa’s narrow miss, the match ultimately culminated in a tense penalty shootout after a series of dramatic events, including Osimhen’s return to the pitch following an abdominal scare.

Now, Nigeria advances to face Ivory Coast in the highly anticipated AFCON final, setting the stage for an electrifying showdown between two footballing powerhouses.

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