Super Eagles’ Stanley Nwabali Shines as Nigeria Secures AFCON 2023 Final Spot in Thrilling Penalty Shootout Victory over South Africa

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Kelechi Iheancho scored the winning penalty but Stanley Nwabali proved to be the Super Eagles’ saviour as Nigeria booked an AFCON 2023 final place after beating South Africa.

Super Eagles goalkeeper Stanley Nwabali was the difference between the two sides as Nigeria dug deep to claim a deserved win over South Africa and book a place in the final of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations after a tense penalty shootout.

Nigeria were handed a chance to take the lead midway through the second half as Victor Osimhen was brought down in the penalty box by Mothobi Mvala and referee Amin Mohamed Omar immediately pointed to the spot.

Captain for the day Troost-Ekong stepped up to convert past Williams to score his second goal of the 2023 AFCON and give Nigeria a deserved 1-0 lead.

After scoring the opener, Nigeria came close to doubling their lead when star forward Ademola Lookman was played through on goal but failed to round the South African goalkeeper despite having the benefit of time on the ball.

The Super Eagles thought they had found the all-important second goal of the match, when Osimhen tapped in at the far post, but their joy quickly turned into anguish as not only was the goal ruled out, but South Africa were also handed a penalty for a foul in the build up of Nigeria’s goal.

Midfielder Teboho Mokoena took up the responsibility for South Africa from the spot and made no mistake to equalise late on for Bayana Bayana and send the game to extra time.

A dull extra time period was sparked into life when Grant Kekana received a straight red card for a last-man foul on substitute Terem Moffi.

In the ensuing penalty shootout, Mokoena was unable to repeat his heroics during normal time as Nwabali pulled off a brilliant save from the spot.

Nwabali would prove to be the hero, saving a second penalty from Makgopa after Ola Aina had missed his spot kick.

In the end it was up to substitute Kelechi Iheanacho, playing his first match at the 2023 AFCON to decide the game with the final penalty kick and he confidently dispatched the spot kick to send the Super Eagles into their first AFCON final since 2013.

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