New Telegraph

Nwabali the Hero as the Eagles Fly into the AFCON 2023 Final With Dramatic Win Over Africa

Goalkeeper Stanley Nwabali is the Man of the Match after saving two penalties to lead Nigeria into the final of the 2023 African Cup of Nations. The Eagles beat Bafana Bafana of South Africa 4-2 on penalties after the match had ended 1-1 after extra time at the Stade la Paix in Bouake yesterday.

Captain William Troost-Ekong scored Nigeria’s only goal from the penalty spot in the second before South Africa also got a penalty towards the end of regulation time to take the match into extra time. Head coach Jose Peseiro made one change to the side that defeated Angola 1-0 in the quarterfinals, with Zaidu Sanusi making way for Bright Osayi-Samuel.

Ola Aina moved to take up the left wing-back role, with Osayi-Samuel occupying the opposite flank. Nigeria looked to press the Bafana Bafana high up the pitch, but the best of the early chances fell to the South Africans. However, the Nigerian defence stood firm with some last-ditch tackles, and goalkeeper Stanley Nwabali made a fantastic one-handed save from a curling Evidence Makgopa shot.

With Moses Simon and Ademola Lookman struggling on the ball and South Africa breaking Nigeria’s lines with ease, it appeared like the worst Super Eagles performance at the AFCON. South Africa would have only themselves to blame for not capitalising on any of the chances they created as the first half ended goalless.

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