AFCON 2023: Nigeria's Stanley Nwabali Shines as Super Eagles Set Up Final Against Ivory Coast

AFCON 2023: Nigeria's Stanley Nwabali Shines as Super Eagles Set Up Final Against Ivory Coast

Ero Samson
updated at February 13, 2024 at 11:54 AM
In this article:
CAF Africa Cup of Nations logo
Nigeria logo
Super Eagles logo
Super Eagles
South Africa
South Africa logo
South Africa
South Africa
Stanley Nwabali logo
S. Nwabali
-GNigeria logo
William Troost-Ekong logo
W. Troost-Ekong
PAOK Saloniki logoDNigeria logo
Victor Osimhen logo
V. Osimhen
Napoli logoFNigeria logo
Alhassan Yusuf logo
A. Yusuf
Royal Antwerp logoMNigeria logo
Percy Tau logo
P. Tau
El Ahly Cairo logoFSouth Africa logo
Teboho Mokoena logo
T. Mokoena
Mamelodi Sundowns logoMSouth Africa logo
Grant Kekana logo
-DSouth Africa logo
  • Nigeria faced off against South Africa in the semi-final of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations
  • Goals from William Troost-Ekong and Teboho Mokoena saw the game head into extra time
  • Stanley Nwabali shone in the shootout to secure an AFCON final spot for the Super Eagles

Nigeria clinched their spot in the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) with a hard-fought victory over South Africa's formidable Bafana Bafana.

Despite being three-time Cup of Nations champions and entering the pivotal showdown as favourites, Nigeria did not have it easy in the match.

Throughout the first half, there was a flurry of opportunities at both ends, but the game only ignited in the 64th minute from the penalty spot.

AFCON, Nigeria, Nwabali, South Africa, Nigeria, CAF, Super Eagles
Nigeria goalkeeper, Stanley Nwabali makes a penalty save during the Africa Cup of Nations encounter against South Africa. Image: Issouf Sanogo.
Source: Getty Images

South Africa defender, Mothobi Mvala, brought down Nigeria's Victor Osimhen in the penalty area. Stepping up as captain, William Troost-Ekong coolly dispatched the ensuing penalty, granting the Super Eagles a crucial lead.

Jose Peseiro's side believed they had secured a second goal when Osimhen netted in the 86th minute. However, their celebrations were cut short as the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) intervened, determining that midfielder, Alhassan Yusuf, had committed a foul on forward, Percy Tau, in the build-up to the goal.

In a dramatic turn of events, Bafana Bafana were awarded a penalty, duly converted by midfielder, Teboho Mokoena, levelling the scoreline.

With the game deadlocked, extra time followed and was marked by little goalmouth action, save for a red card shown to Grank Kekena in the 118th minute. The match then proceeded to a tense penalty shootout.

Against the odds, Super Eagles goalkeeper, Stanley Nwabali emerged as his country's hero, making two crucial saves from the four spot kicks he faced.

The shootout concluded with a 4-2 victory for Nigeria, securing their place in the AFCON final for the first time since their triumph in South Africa in 2013.

South Africa hits Kudus celebration

Sports Brief also previously reported on the players of Bafana Bafana performing the iconic celebration of Ghana's Mohammed Kudus after equalising against Nigeria.

Hugo Broos' side managed to draw level at the end of the semi-final via a penalty converted by Teboho Mokoena, but they would go on to lose in the post-match shootout.

Ero Samson photo
Ero Samson
Samson Ero is a sports journalist with a track record of over five years in the Nigerian media industry. He graduated from Nigerian Institute of Journalism (2021-2023).