The Super Eagles of Nigeria has qualified for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations after a 1:1 draw against South African on Saturday, November 17, 2018.
After missing out in the last two editions, Nigeria will be appearing at the African showpiece.
Stuart Baxter’s charges were on the ropes after what was supposed to be a routine victory over Seychelles away in their last qualifier ended in a disappointing goalless draw on October 16, 2018
Bafana had thrashed the Pirates 6:0 three days earlier at FNB Stadium but surrendered top spot in Group E with the stalemate.
On the other hand, Gernot Rohr’s Super Eagles beat Libya in their back-to-back games, winning 4:0 at home and 3:2 away in a space of three days, to top the group.
There was a pedestrian start to proceedings in Soweto on Saturday. The Super Eagles were eager to control the pace of the game at high altitude, something South Africa were aiming to use to their advantage.
Ahmed Musa fired a shot at goal but it was straight at Itumeleng Khune who made an easy save.
The three-time AFCON champions silenced the noisy home fans shortly after. Samuel Kalu charged down the right flank before releasing a cross which was turned home for an own goal by Buhle Mkhwanazi.
South Africa almost hit straight back through Percy Tau before Khune’s save spared Thamsanqa Mkhize’s blushes.
The hosts equalised four minutes before the half hour. Tau bamboozled the Nigerian defence before squaring the ball to Lebo Mothiba who had the easy task of passing the ball into an empty net.
Nigeria had the chance to regain the lead but a poor first touch from Kelechi Iheanacho let South Africa off the hook. The forward got a bit too excited with the goal at his mercy.
The Super Eagles continued to attack in numbers after the break. John Ogu’s header from Musa’s corner-kick looked destined for the back of the net but Themba Zwane was well positioned to clear from danger.
Omeruo had the chance to put the game in the bag in the 74th minute but failed to direct his header home from a well-crafted Kalu’s delivery.
Musa found the back of the net following a defence splitting pass from Iwobi but the assistant’s flag was raised for offside.