Bafana Bafana’s Afcon dream got here crashing down in fairly a heartbreaking method, as they had been eradicated by Nigeria within the dying moments of their quarterfinal conflict on Wednesday night time.
Stuart Baxter’s males had been served a dose of the identical drugs they fed hosts Egypt within the earlier spherical when a last-gasp aim from Thembinkosi Lorch despatched the Pharaohs packing, and it was Dutch-born defender William Troost-Ekong who delivered the decisive blow with a 89th minute header.
Regardless of placing on one other valiant effort all through the 90, and desperately pushing their opponents all through 4 minutes of harm time, South Africa’s run – which was starting to take the illusion of a fairytale – was quickly over, and their mentor was at a loss to seek out positives from the defeat.
Talking after the loss, Baxter admitted the end result was exhausting to take, however tipped his reverse quantity Gernot Rohr to take the Tremendous Eagles far within the event.
“It’s tough to seek out positives while you lose a sport within the dying minutes,” stated Baxter.
“Nigeria have good gamers, and so they had been rather well organised. We didn’t defend in addition to we may, and we left some areas down the flanks, so Nigeria had been all the time harmful.
“We tried to win the sport within the closing levels, however Nigeria received the aim within the dying minutes.
“It’s powerful to take, however I’ve to say congratulations to Gernot and his group. I’m positive they’ll be one of many groups in line to raise the trophy.”
Bafana Bafana paid the value for shaky defence earlier on as Nigerian teenager Samuel Chukwueze capitalised from a failed clearance to shoot previous Ronwen Williams for a 27th minute opener.
After wanting nervous for the remainder of the primary half, they emerged from the tunnel extra assured and had been finally rewarded with 19 minutes remaining on the clock.
Bongani Zungu’s header from a set piece was initially disallowed after the offside flag went up however, due to the video assistant referee (VAR), the choice was overturned, giving the Amiens midfielder his second aim of the event.
A mistake from Williams, who didn’t punch away a nook kick, allowed Troost-Ekong to move within the winner, which noticed Bafana fail to progress previous the Afcon quarterfinals as soon as extra, having final performed so in 2000.
Nigeria, together with Senegal, now await their semifinal opponents – with Ivory Coast enjoying Algeria earlier than Madagascar tackle Tunisia on Friday night time.