By Izuchukwu Okosi

Samuel Chukwueze and William Troost-Ekong were the scorers as Nigeria’s Super Eagles defeated South Africa 2-1on Wednesday evening in the second quarterfinals of the day to zoom into the semifinals of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations where they will face either Algeria or Ivory Coast. 

South Africa started same side that defeated Egypt in the round of 16 while Nigeria’s head coach Gernot Rohr handed an AFCON debut to left back Jamilu Collins in a 4-3-3 formation otherwise his starting line up consisted of the other nine players that started the game against Cameroon with Samuel Chukwueze coming in place of Moses Simon.

Alex Iwobi released Ahmed Musa with a through pass within the first minute but the South African defence cleared the ball. 

Wilfred Ndidi produced a cushioned effort from a long range in the fifth minute and the ball went  wide off target.

William Troost Ekong almost gave away the ball with a short pass to Ndidi in the 23rd minute but the Leicester man was mindful of his nearest opponent which saved a bad situation for the Nigerian defence.

Samuel Chukwueze then made it 1-0 for Nigeria in the 27th minute when he finished off a sleek move orchestrated by Ahmed Musa, and delivered onto the path of the Villarreal winger Arsenal’s Alex Iwobi.

Oghenekaro Etebo fouled Percy Tau at the edge of the Nigerian box few minutes before halftime but the defensive wall formed by the Eagles cleared the ball. 

Thulani Hlatshwayo bundled Odion Ighalo to the ground two minutes into the second half but Etebo’s stunning free-kick was tipped over to the crossbar by goalkeeper Ronwen Williams.

South Africa afterwards hoped to latch on a counter from a Nigeria’s corner kick as Ndidi failed to connect a Musa pass but the ball went out for a goal kick.

South Africa restored parity when Bongani Zungu’s 70th minute headed goal was awarded after consultation with the VAR as the ball came off the head of Ighalo.

Ndidi blocked superbly a strike inside the Nigerian box by Lars Veldwijk.

Ekong then snatched a second goal for Nigeria in the 89th minute as his knee inadvertently bundled the ball home from a corner kick taken by Moses Simon.