SA Qualify For U23 AFCON Semis

South Africa progressed to the U23 Africa Cup of Nations semi-finals after securing a point against Nigeria in their final group game on Friday evening.

Head coach David Notoane made three changes to the side that edged Ivory Coast on Tuesday, with Thabiso Monyane, Siyabonga Ngezana and Athenkosi Dlala earning starts at the expense of Sipho Mbule, Grant Margeman and Kegan Johannes.

After a quiet start, the South Afrians carved their first opening in the 28th minute after Kamohelo Mahlatsi unleashed a curling effort that was parried away by goalkeeper Adamu Abubakar.

Teboho Mokwena came close to breaking the deadlock three minutes before the break with a strike from outside the box that rattled the woodwork.

Nigeria were going hard on tackles early in the second stanza and South Africa had a casualty seven minutes into the second stanza after Lyle Foster was replaced by Keletso Makgalwa.

Makgalwa had a glorious chance to break the deadlock for the South Africans side with 20 minutes remaining after Luther Singh cushioned a cross into his path, but the Mamelodi Sundowns midfielder guided his header wide.

As time marched on, Notoane’s had another chance to snatch a late winner in the last four minutes after Makgalwa threaded a through ball that found Singh but the Portugal-based striker missed by a whisker.

In the end, South Africa held on to a get a decisive point that saw them qualify for the semi-finals as the second best team in Group B and sets up a semi-final clash with Egypt on Tuesday.

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