Africa Cup of Nations: Nigeria score in last minute to beat South Africa 2-1 for semi-final spot

William Troost-Ekong

William Troost-Ekong’s goal put Nigeria into the semi-finals

William Troost-Ekong scored a dramatic late winner to send Nigeria into the Africa Cup of Nations semi-final at the expense of South Africa.

Samuel Chukwueze hit the opener as he controlled Alex Iwobi’s cross, before scoring at the second attempt.

Bongani Zungu equalised with a header initially ruled out for offside before VAR replays showed a free-kick hit a Nigerian player on the way to him.

But Udinese’s Troost-Ekong bundled home from close range late on to win it.

His finish was into an empty net after goalkeeper Ronwen Williams totally missed Moses Simon’s corner.

Nigeria face Ivory Coast or Algeria in Sunday’s second semi-final (20:00 BST).

The Super Eagles were deserved winners and led through Villarreal youngster Chukwueze’s first goal for his country. They should have been ahead by more when Williams pushed Peter Etebo’s free-kick onto the bar.

Zungu’s goal was the first in the Africa Cup of Nations given by the VAR, which has just been introduced for the quarter-finals. It looked offside initially but Percy Tau’s free-kick hit Nigeria’s Odion Ighalo on the way on to Amiens midfielder Zungu’s head.

The game looked set for extra time before Williams flapped at a cross to leave Troost-Ekong with a simple finish.

Senegal, who beat Benin 1-0 earlier on Wednesday, play either Madagascar or Tunisia in the other semi-final.

Everyone thought it was offside – analysis

BBC World Service’s Nick Cavell at the Cairo International Stadium

Probably the correct result in the end.

All three goals were quite scrappy. The first one for Chukwueze took a deflection.

Then South Africa’s equaliser thanks to the VAR decision, which was a bit of history here. Everyone in the stadium thought it was offside – that was what the linesman flagged for – but the replay proved VAR was useful, correct and worth doing because it proved the ball had come off Ighalo and not Thulani Hlatshwayo, and so it stood.

But South Africa didn’t do enough to win this – they were caught between trying to pump it long and trying to pass it around a very solid Nigerian defence.

And it was Troost-Ekong who was at the heart of that defence and scored the winner. Nigeria had class through the side though – Iwobi had another outstanding game, as did Etebo and Chukwueze.

Live Text

Match ends, Nigeria 2, South Africa 1.

Second Half ends, Nigeria 2, South Africa 1.

Substitution, Nigeria. Leon Balogun replaces Alex Iwobi.

Corner, Nigeria. Conceded by Ronwen Williams.

Attempt saved. Odion Ighalo (Nigeria) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Samuel Chukwueze.

Goal! Nigeria 2, South Africa 1. William Troost-Ekong (Nigeria) right footed shot from very close range to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Moses Simon with a cross following a corner.

Corner, Nigeria. Conceded by Bongani Zungu.

Attempt blocked. Kenneth Omeruo (Nigeria) header from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Moses Simon with a cross.

Corner, Nigeria. Conceded by Thulani Hlatshwayo.

Foul by Lars Veldwijk (South Africa).

Wilfred Ndidi (Nigeria) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Percy Tau (South Africa) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by Jamilu Collins (Nigeria).

Buhle Mkhwanazi (South Africa) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Odion Ighalo (Nigeria).

Substitution, South Africa. Lars Veldwijk replaces Lebo Mothiba.

Foul by Lebo Mothiba (South Africa).

Moses Simon (Nigeria) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt saved. Percy Tau (South Africa) left footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the top right corner. Assisted by Lebo Mothiba.

Hand ball by Lebo Mothiba (South Africa).

Ronwen Williams (South Africa) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by William Troost-Ekong (Nigeria).

Corner, Nigeria. Conceded by Thamsanqa Mkhize.

Percy Tau (South Africa) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Jamilu Collins (Nigeria).

Substitution, Nigeria. Moses Simon replaces Ahmed Musa.

Attempt missed. Alex Iwobi (Nigeria) left footed shot from the right side of the box is high and wide to the left. Assisted by Samuel Chukwueze.

Percy Tau (South Africa) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Peter Etebo (Nigeria).

Thamsanqa Mkhize (South Africa) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Thamsanqa Mkhize (South Africa).

Ahmed Musa (Nigeria) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Themba Zwane (South Africa).

William Troost-Ekong (Nigeria) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

VAR: Goal. Referee decision on field cancelled.

Delay in match (South Africa). VAR checking.

Goal! Nigeria 1, South Africa 1. Bongani Zungu (South Africa) header from the left side of the six yard box to the top right corner following a set piece situation.

Themba Zwane (South Africa) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Wilfred Ndidi (Nigeria).

Africa Cup of Nations: Nigeria score in last minute to beat South Africa 2-1 for semi-final spot

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