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    Nigeria survives crazy minutes and celebrates after a thriller


    Curious use of VAR
    Nigeria survives crazy minutes and celebrates after a thriller

    Nigeria is the first finalist at this year's Africa Cup – the three-time title holders have to survive dramatic minutes against South Africa, in the end Nigeria celebrates after the penalty shootout.

    The Nigerian national football team has reached the final of the Africa Cup of Nations in Ivory Coast (Cote d'Ivoire) and continues to have its sights set on title number four. In the semi-final against South Africa, the “Super Eagles” had to wait until the penalty shootout after a strange VAR decision shortly before the end of regular time, but they prevailed 4-2. After 120 minutes the score was 1:1 (1:1, 0:0).

    Leicester City's Kelechi Iheanacho scored the winning penalty for the Nigerians at Bouake's Stade de la Paix. Captain William Troost-Ekong (67th) scored 1-0 with a penalty in a game with few chances in temperatures of up to 35 degrees after a foul on star striker Victor Osimhen. Teboho Mokoena (90th) also equalized for South Africa with a penalty kick.

    Shortly before Mokoena's goal, Osimhen (85th) had supposedly made the preliminary decision with a goal to make it 2-0. But after the video assistant intervened, the Egyptian referee Amin Mohamed Omaraus disallowed the goal and instead punished a foul by Nigeria's Semi Ajayi in his own penalty area, which had preceded the counterattack goal.

    South Africa almost turned the game around before extra time, but Khuliso Mudau shot over the empty goal. In extra time, Mudau's teammate Grant Kekana (116th) was shown a red card for an emergency brake after another VAR intervention.

    In the final on Sunday (9 p.m.) in Abidjan, Nigeria will face the winner of the second semi-final between hosts Ivory Coast and the Democratic Republic of Congo on Wednesday evening (9 p.m.).

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