• Late heartbreak for Bafana against Nigeria

    Bafana Bafana are out of the Africa Cup of Nations after a late goal by William Troost-Ekong handed Nigeria a 2-1 win over the South Africans in their quarter-final clash on Wednesday evening.

    Stuart Baxter’s men booked their spot in the quarters with a shock 1-0 win over hosts Egypt after narrowly scraping through the group stages as the fourth-best placed third team.

    Nigeria, on the other hand, sealed their last-eight berth with a come-from-behind 3-2 win over defending champions Cameroon after cruising through the group stages.

    Baxter named an unchanged lineup and his side started the game well as they looked calm in possession, but it was the Nigerians who seemed to have more of a cutting edge.

    Bafana, though, were the team to create the first real opening when Percy Tau slipped in Thembinkosi Lorch but the winger’s shot from a tight angle went just wide.

    Nigeria then took the lead as Ahmed Musa linked up with Alex Iwobi down the left flank, the Arsenal man then brilliantly picked out Samuel Chukwueze whose shot hit Buhle Mkhwanazi before falling straight back at his feet, leaving Chukwueze with a simple finish. 1-0 to the Super Eagles with 28 minutes gone.

    Nigeria were on top after opening the scoring and were causing Thamsanqa Mkhize all sorts of problems down South Africa’s right flank.

    Gernot Rohr’s side, though, squandered a couple of more chances to only take a 1-0 lead into the break.

    Baxter’s men needed a response in the second half and had Ronwen Williams to thank for keeping them in the game as the keeper produced a stunning save from an Etebo free kick four minutes after the restart.

    Nigeria were looking to keep their shape and ask Bafana to break them down, while still posing a massive threat on the counter-attack.

    The South Africans then began to up the tempo and after a couple of forays into Nigeria territory in the final third found the equaliser. It came from the set piece where initially Bongani Zungu’s looping back-post header was ruled out for offsides, only for VAR to intervene and reward the goal after replays showed the ball came off the back of Kenneth Omeruo.

    With extra time looming, Bafana suffered late heartbreak when a Moses Simon corner was misjudged by Williams, who missed his punch, leaving William Troost-Ekong with a tap-in at the back post in the 88th minute.

    Bafana are now out of Afcon after a tough encounter against the Super Eagles, who will face the winner of the Algeria vs Ivory Coast game.

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