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South Africa Beats Cape Verde On Penalties To Advance

Goalkeeper Ronwen Williams was the hero as South Africa beat Cape Verde 2-1 on penalties following a 0-0 draw after regulation time to advance to the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) semi-finals, at the Charles Konan Banny Stadium in Yamoussoukro, Cote d’Ivoire.

South Africa started with Evidence Makgopa in attack, with Percy Tau and Thapelo Morena supporting on the wings. For Cape Verde, Jovane Cabral led the line while captain Ryan Mendes and Garry Rodrigues were on the flanks.

Both sides started brightly in an open first half, but stellar defending and top-class goalkeeping from Williams and Cape Verde’s Vozinha kept the game goalless at the break.

The second half followed a similar pattern as the teams traded blows in search of the breakthrough. But a combination of desperation and brilliant defending saw numerous chances missed.

Cape Verde almost stole it in added time when Gelson Tavares pounced on a deep ball, only to smash his shot off the bar with Williams getting a hand to it. 0-0 after 90 minutes meant extra time.

The additional 30 minutes brought more chances, with South Africa’s Mihlali Mayambela forcing a superb save from Vozinha. But the deadlock remained to send the quarter-final into penalties.

After a tense last eight clash ended 0-0, South Africa goalkeeper Williams remarkably saved four spot-kicks in the shootout to send Bafana Bafana through to the semi-finals.

South Africa have now reached the semis for the first time since 2000, where they will now meet the Super Eagles of Nigeria in what promises to be a thrilling encounter between the fierce rivals.

Not many people in South Africa believed in this team, but we believed in it and the players believed in themselves as well,” Bruce added. “Reaching the semi-finals is in itself a good thing for South African football.”

“There was a lot of pressure in the match. Everyone wanted to qualify. This match was unlike the previous ones. We did not show the same performance as we had in previous matches.”

The semi-final match will be different against Nigeria, which has good players like Lookman. We will not lose focus. The players will be in good condition, so we need to rest and recover to start our preparation.”

In the other quarter-final match, 10-man Cote d’Ivoire beat Mali 2-1 to advance to the semi-finals and will now face DR Congo.

Saturday’s AFCON results

Mali 1-2 Cote d’Ivoire (After Extra Time)

Cape Verde 0-0 South Africa (1-2 on penalties).

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