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CAN: Nigeria in the final at the end of the suspense

A story of penalties and a crazy scenario, this is how the first semi-final of a CAN 2024 ended which will inevitably be a landmark.

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CAN: Nigeria in the final at the end of the suspense

A story of penalties and a crazy scenario, this is how the first semi-final of a CAN 2024 ended which will inevitably be a landmark. And this time, it was the favorite who won. Expected at the turning point, Nigeria won on penalties against South Africa (1-1, 4-2 on the tabs) to secure the first ticket for the final. The Super Eagles will face Ivory Coast or the Democratic Republic of Congo, who face each other at 9 p.m. (to follow with live commentary).

Led by a Victor Osimhen who was once announced to have withdrawn and worried by his abs from the first minute of the game, the Nigerians finally had the last word against the valiant South Africans, surprise but deserving guests at this stage of the competition. It was even the “Bafana Bafana”, with their collective shaped on a daily basis (7 starters from the same Mamelodi Sundowns team), who were the most dangerous in an open first half but without a clear chance, except for Evidence Magokpa, defeated by Stanley Nwabili (39th), future hero of the match.

And yet it is not the Nigerian goalkeeper we were expecting, but rather his counterpart Ronwen Williams. Fabulous during a penalty shootout against Cape Verde in the previous round (4 saves out of 5), the South African captain was nevertheless beaten in the exercise by William Troost-Ekong, very happy to see his shot on goal. goal passed under the belly of his opposite number (66th). A penalty caused by the inevitable Osimhen, untenable and finally rewarded by the break goal on the counter-attack (85th).

This was without counting on the intervention of the VAR and a CAN with a romantic bent. Goal canceled for a foul... in the opposite area. Penalty obviously transformed by Mokoena behind (90th). Direction two periods of overtime where we came close to a knockout on all sides, notably via Osimhen (101st, 106th), always in check before going out. A new VAR intervention deprived Nigeria of a penalty, because the sense of history sent these two teams to penalties.

And in the end, it's not always Williams who wins. Beaten at each Nigerian attempt, the Bafana Bafana captain no longer performed miracles. Opposite, Stanley Nwabili started on the right side three times out of four, deflecting two South African attempts, including that of Mokoena, who equalized in the same exercise. The drama had chosen its side, and we will find Nigeria in the running for a fourth continental crown on Sunday.

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