In a thrilling encounter dubbed the “Amapiano derby,” the Super Eagles of Nigeria emerged victorious over South Africa to secure a spot in the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations final, thanks largely to the heroics of goalkeeper Stanley Nwabali in a tense penalty shootout.
The match saw Nigeria seize an opportunity to take the lead midway through the second half when Victor Osimhen was fouled in the penalty box by Mothobi Mvala, leading to a penalty kick that was expertly converted by captain William Troost-Ekong.
Despite Nigeria’s dominance, they narrowly missed chances to extend their lead, notably when Ademola Lookman failed to capitalize on a one-on-one opportunity with the South African goalkeeper.
However, South Africa clawed their way back into contention with a late penalty from midfielder Teboho Mokoena, equalizing the score and forcing the game into extra time.
The tension escalated in extra time when South Africa’s Grant Kekana was sent off for a last-man foul, setting the stage for a dramatic penalty shootout.
In the shootout, Nwabali emerged as the hero for Nigeria, making crucial saves including one from Mokoena’s penalty. Despite a miss from Ola Aina, Nwabali’s brilliance ensured Nigeria’s victory.
Ultimately, it was substitute Kelechi Iheanacho who sealed Nigeria’s triumph with the decisive penalty kick, sending the Super Eagles into their first AFCON final since 2013.