Cape Town – Bafana Bafana's run at the 2019 African Cup of Nations is over after they lost 2-1 to Nigeria in a quarter-final encounter.
It was South Africa who applied the earlier pressure in the match with a free-kick in the 3rd minute after a foul on Lebo Mothiba. The Nigerian defence, however, cleared easily enough.
Nigeria then had their first chance of the match two minutes later with a strike from Wilfred Ndidi flying over the crossbar of Ronwen Williams' goal.
Some brilliant interplay down the right between Mothiba and Thamsanqa Mkhize presented Thembinkosi Lorch with a shot in the 10th minute but he could only find the side-netting from an acute angle.
Mkizhe then went down injured in the 15th but after a period of treatment, he was able to resume.
Mothiba was then booked a little harshly for a supposed tug on a Nigeria defender's shirt as both sides struggled to carve out any decent chances.
Eventually, a shot on goal did come and it resulted in a goal for Nigeria in the 28th minute as Samuel Chukwueze slotted home after his first attempt was initally blocked following a cross from the left to give Nigeria a 1-0 lead.
South Africa though continued to enjoy plenty of possession but couldn't find a pass in the final third to put any pressure on Nigeria.
And Nigeria should have extended their lead in the 36th minute but Chukwueze, with plenty of time and space could only blast his shot over the bar.
Dean Furman then spared further blushes for South Africa with a brillant tackle on Chukwueze after a mazy run from the winger into the Bafana penalty area.
In the 42nd minute, South Africa had and excellent chance to put some pressure on the Nigerian goal thanks to a corner.
Nigeria cleared with ease but the ball fell to Percy Tau who was fouled just outside the area.
Mothiba, unfortunately, could only power the resulting free-kick against the wall as Nigeria cleared.
And that was the last attacking action of the first half as Nigeria held a 1-0 lead going into the break.
The start of the second half saw Nigeria almost double their lead in the 50th minute through a brilliant free-kick from Peter Etebo which seemed to be sailing into the top left corner of Williams' goal.
But the Bafana shot stopper had other ideas as he launched himself full stretch and just managed to push the ball onto the crossbar and out from a corner.
Nigeria continued to trouble the South African defence as a cross from Chukwueze saw Ahmed Musa only manage to steer a weak header goalward which Williams dealt with easily.
Chukwueze continued to be a thorn in the side of South Africa and in the 57th minute, he once again created space before rolling a ball across goal no Nigerian could get on the end of although they probably should have.
A better period of play followed for South Africa which resulted in Mkhize firing wide from range in the 63rd minute.
A free-kick in the 70th minute finally led to a much needed South AfriRead More