Nigeria into Africa Cup of Nations semis after late winner against South Africa

Nigeria have reached the Africa Cup of Nations semi-finals but left it late to overcome a gallant South Africa as the tournament served up more drama on Wednesday.

Defender William Troost-Ekong turned the ball in from a corner in the 89th minute to snatch a 2-1 win, just as Nigeria seemed to be in danger of throwing away a game they had dominated.

Samuel Chukwueze, recalled to the side after missing the previous round, put the Super Eagles ahead in the 27th minute. The Villarreal winger finished from close range at the second attempt after his initial shot had been blocked.

Nigeria were in control throughout the first hour, but missed chances and paid the price when Bongani Zungu headed a 71st-minute equaliser with South Africa’s first shot on target.

The goal was initially ruled offside but then awarded after a VAR check showed that the ball had deflected off Nigeria’s Odion Ighalo before Zungu headed home.

Extra time looked on the cards until Troost-Ekong pounced after Ronwen Williams failed to collect a corner. They will face Algeria or Ivory Coast in the semi-finals.

Idrissa Gueye scores the winner for Senegal against Benin.

Idrissa Gueye scores the winner for Senegal against Benin. Photograph: Hassan Ammar/AP

Senegal have also reached the last four after ending Benin’s surprise run, but needed a goal from Idrissa Gueye to win a laboured contest.

Gueye’s goal 20 minutes from time was one of the few highlights at Cairo’s 30 June Stadium, with the Everton midfielder setting up the move and then finishing it after an exchange of passes with Sadio Mané, much to the relief of Africa’s top-ranked team.

Gueye could have had a second goal 12 minutes later with a similar surging run from midfield, but was pulled back by Benin defender Olivier Verdon, who was promptly sent off.

Mané had the ball in the net twice but was offside on both occasions, verified by the VAR – being used in this tournament only from the quarter-finals onwards. The Liverpool forward also had an effort cleared off the line three minutes after Gueye’s opener.

Benin forward Mickael Pote missed the underdogs’ best chances, going narrowly wide with a cheeky backheel in the 26th minute and then hitting a tame effort straight at Senegal keeper Alfred Gomis in the second half.

Senegal must wait until Thursday to find out who they will face in their first Afcon semi-final since 2006, with Tunisia and surprise packages Madagascar meeting in Cairo.


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