AFCON 2019: Nigeria knocks out South Africa in quarterfinals

Nigeria beat South Africa 2-1 on Wednesday night at the Cairo International Stadium in Cairo to advance to the semifinals of the 2019 Total Africa Cup of Nations.

Nigeria took advantage of defensive lapses by the South Africans to claim the win despite having a significantly lesser amount of ball possession.

Alex Iwobi’s cross from the left found Samuel Chukuweze in the penalty box and though his first-time shot was blocked by the South African defence, he managed to pounce on the loose ball and slot past goalkeeper Ronwen Williams in the 27th minute.

Four minutes before the break, Chukuweze danced his way into South Africa’s penalty box only for Dean Furman to slide in and block his shot at the near post.

Williams was called into action four minutes after the restart as he tipped a free-kick by Oghenekaro Etebo onto the crossbar.

The South Africans equalised in the 71st minute when Percy Tau’s free-kick found an unmarked Bongani Zungu who looped a header over Nigerian goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi. However, the effort was initially ruled out for offside. A check by the VAR then awarded the goal after replays showed the ball came off Nigerian forward Odion Ighalo, and not South Africa’s Thulani Hlatshwayo, before reaching Zungu.

The game appeared to be heading to extra time when defender William Troost-Ekong bundled home in the 89th minute after Williams failed to collect the ball from a corner.

Nigeria, the 3-time African champions, will face either Algeria or the Ivory Coast in the semifinals.