South Africa have recorded their first competitive win over Nigeria after defeating the Super Eagles 2-0 in a Cameroon 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier at the Akwa Ibom Stadium, Uyo, on Saturday.
Second half goals from Tokelo Rantie and Percy Tau gave the South Africans the three points at the expense of their hapless hosts.
Bafana Bafana, in their first match under new coach Stuart Baxter, put an end to Nigeria coach, Gernot Rohr’s unbeaten streak since taking charge of the team in 2016. The Eagles coach has recorded three wins and two draws in his previous five games in charge of the team before Saturday.
It is the second time Baxter will defeat Nigeria with Bafana. His first win was a 2-1 victory in a friendly encounter in 2004.
South Africa are now second in the group with three points – same as Group E toppers Libya, who defeated Seychelles 5-1 on Friday. Nigeria are third with no point.
The Eagles next match in the 2019 AFCON qualifiers will come up on March 23, 2018 against Seychelles. Only the winners of each group will qualify for the 2019 AFCON.
Rohr started Daniel Akpeyi in goal with Elderson Echiejile, Shehu Abdullahi, Chidozie Awaziem and William Troost-Ekong in the defence. Wilfred Ndidi, stand-in captain Ogenyi Onazi and Oghenekaro Etebo were in the midfield while Moses Simon, Alex Iwobi and Kelechi Iheanacho were in the Eagles attack.
Nigeria created the first clear chance in the 11th minute when Ndidi picked up a loose ball on the edge of the box and sent a left-footed volley off target. The Eagles further attacked and should have taken the lead in the 23rd minute with Iheanacho providing a low pass across the face of goal to find Etebo whose effort flashed wide.
South Africa settled into the match and almost broke the deadlock in the 42nd minute when Nigeria goalkeeper Akpeyi dropped Tebogo Langerman’s cross and Themba Zwane struck the loose ball against the upright.
The Eagles, cheered on by their supporters, attacked straight from the blocks in the second half but could not create any good scoring chances.
But after 54 minutes, Bafana claimed the lead through Rantie, who met Ramahlwe Mphahlele’s cross and beat Akpeyi at his near post with a downward header and with 20 minutes of regulation time remaining, Zwane once again struck an effort at the upright with only Akpeyi to beat.
In the 78th minute, Ahmed Musa, who replaced Iwobi, and Etebo threatened in the penalty area but their effort was cleared off the line by Dean Furman.
Bafana ensured they got the points in the 81st minute when Pau finished a good counter attack move by the South Africans.
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