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Nigeria's Super Eagles soar to AFCON final

Football
 Nigeria talisman Victor Osimhen (right) heads the ball during their semifinal match against South Africa.[CAF]

Nigeria, fueled by determination and resilience, stormed into the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) final on Wednesday night after knocking out South Africa 4-2 on post-match penalties following a 1-1 draw during regular and extra time.

The win will see the Super Eagles return to the finals for the first time in a decade, marking their first appearance since their victorious campaign in 2013.

The journey to the final was anything but easy, epitomized by a tense semi-final clash against South Africa that culminated in a thrilling penalty shootout.

From the onset, it was evident that both teams were evenly matched, with neither willing to yield an inch of ground.

South Africa, playing in their first AFCON semi-final in over two decades, presented a formidable challenge. Despite Nigeria's confidence, the game remained deadlocked until Victor Osimhen won a penalty.

Super Eagles captain Troost-Ekong stepped up to break the silence, propelling Nigeria into a 1-0 lead.

However, just when victory seemed within grasp, South Africa fought back, equalizing in the dying minutes of regular time through a penalty of their own which Teboho Mokoena converted for a 1-1 draw.

The tension soared as the match headed into extra time, with both sides refusing to concede defeat.

In a dramatic turn of events, a red card reduced South Africa to ten men, offering Nigeria a golden opportunity. Grant Kekana was shown a straight red card for bringing down Terem Moffi at the edge of the box.

Yet, despite their numerical advantage, the Super Eagles failed to secure victory in open play, setting the stage for a nerve-wracking penalty shootout.

In the end, it was Nigeria's unwavering resolve that proved decisive. With clinical precision, they dispatched their spot-kicks, while South Africa faltered under pressure.

Kelechi Iheanacho converted the winning spot kick that sent Nigeria to the finals.

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