BafanaBafana lost 2-1 to rivals Nigeria in an absorbing AFCON quarterfinal match at Cairo International Stadium on Wednesday night to bring their run in the tournament to a disappointing end.

 

It was another sucker punch that put paid to Bafana Bafana’s progress in the tournament when defender William Ekong scored in the dying minutes of the second half when everyone had resigned to extra time.

It was a painful end of Bafana Bafana’s run and more so after Bongani Zungu had brought parity to the match on the 70th minute with a header which had to be referred to VAR after the referee had initially ruled the goal offside.

Nigeria took the lead in the 27th minute when Samuel Chukwueze bundled the ball home from close range to bring the sparse crowd to life.

Apart from Nigeria’s goal, there were little clear cut chances from both sides but soon after the resumption, the action roared back into life.

Super Eagles hit the crossbar from a free kick but South Africa always looked the more likely side to score the equaliser.

 And Zungu did just that on the 70th minute.

 Bafana Bafana kept pressing forward for the winner, it was Ekong who scored from a corner when the tiring defence failed to clear their lines.

Coach Stuart Baxter retained the same team that eliminated hosts Egypt in the last 16 with goalscorer Thembinkosi Lorch retaining his position ahead of Themba Zwane who was available after completing his suspension.

Nigeria coach Gernot Rohr had suggested South Africa were favourites in the build-up following their defeat of the record seven-time champions, a tag Baxter promptly rejected with Bafana Bafana’s lone competitive win coming in qualifying for these finals.

Regardless of the loss, the minister of transport @Fikile Mbalula took to Twitter to congratulate the team for the job well done, and he had this to say:

"I am personally proud of @BafanaBafana - thank you, boys, for showing South Africa we can fight. We’ve come far from the famous speech I won’t on this occasion recall. 

 

On behalf of me, myself and I - thank you for being better - we could certainly be the best- but, nisebenzile"

 

#SAPNSport
By: Bradley Brizzy

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