Nigeria's goalkeeper Stanley Nwabali stopping oe of the penalties.

Nigeria secured a hard-fought victory against South Africa in a tense semifinal clash at the 34th Africa Cup of Nations, ultimately advancing to the Championship Match after a thrilling penalty shootout in Bouake, Cote d’Ivoire.

Dubbed the "Ampiano Derby," the match was anticipated with great fervor, evident as both teams took to the field with a determination akin to going to war.

The action kicked off with Sphephelo Sithole's attempt for South Africa, swiftly countered by Nigeria's goalkeeper Stanley Nwabali. Victor Osimhen and Ademola Lookman of Nigeria tried to unlock the defense but were met with resolute opposition from South Africa's backline.

Nwabali continued to showcase his prowess, denying Percy Tau's chip in the 39th minute, while Nigeria's Osimhen missed opportunities with wayward headers.

However, Nigeria broke the deadlock in the 65th minute when Osimhen was fouled in the box, resulting in a penalty converted by William Ekong. Despite both teams creating chances, the score remained 1-0 until late drama unfolded.

In the dying moments of regular time, Bright Osayi-Samuel's cross found Osimhen, seemingly securing Nigeria's victory. Yet, the referee intervened, awarding a penalty to South Africa, which Teboho Mokoena converted, forcing extra time.

In the additional period, both teams pressed for a winner, but with no success, leading to a nerve-wracking penalty shootout. Nigeria's goalkeeper Nwabali emerged as the hero, saving two crucial penalties, securing Nigeria's 4-2 victory.

With this hard-fought win, Nigeria advances to the Final for the eighth time in the history of the competition. They are set to face surprise contenders and tournament hosts, Cote d’Ivoire, in what promises to be an electrifying final showdown at the Stade Olympique Alassane Ouattara in Ebimpe, Abidjan, on Sunday night.

Kindly like, share and leave your comment.