It is their 15th time in 18 appearance as they shut out hard fighting Bafana Bafana of South Africa to get into the last four which also guarantees they will be in the competition till the last three matches.
It is the first time a team led by Stuart Baxter lost South Africa. The Scot led South Africa to defeat Nigeria in Johannesburg in November 2004 during his first stint as South Africa’s coach. He returned two years ago to lead the team to beat Nigeria 2-0 in Uyo and managed to force a draw in the reversed leg last November in Johanesburg.
Gritty South Africans! They put up a great challenge. They may have been knocked out they were far from being disgraced.
Undoubtedly, the hero of the day was Samuel Chukwueze who was having just his third match for Nigeria. Samuel Chukwueze scoring the first goal after 27 minutes
Not only did he score the opening goal that put Nigeria ahead in the 27th minute, his power-packed style of play was a big worry to the h South African defence line.
Nigeria retained the lead till half time. It was the first time in the series that Nigeria led at half time.
The South Africans came back stronger in the second half, even though Nigeria made spirited efforts to double the lead.
But the complexion of the game suddenly changed when from a free kick, Bongani Zungu sneaked behind the Nigerian defence to nod home a ball in-flight. The Video Assistant Referee (VAR) had to communicate via wireless earpiece to the Moroccan referee to validate the goal in the 74thth minute.
The game became a ding-dong affair, threatening to drag into a possible extra time. But just a minute from regulation time,
William Troost Ekong came from behind to scramble in the ball from a left-sided corner kick.
The Super Eagles will now wait to see their opponents from Algeria and Cote d’Ivoire who lock horns in Suez on Thursday.