AFCON: Bafana Bafana Triumph in Thrilling Showdown, Conquers Cape Verde in Penalty Drama!

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South Africa progressed to the semi-finals of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations by securing a 2-1 victory on penalties against Cape Verde, following a goalless draw in extra time.

The match took place at the Charles Konan Banny Stadium in Yamoussoukro on Saturday night.

During the evenly-fought 120 minutes, both teams had opportunities to score, but goalkeepers Ronwen Williams and Vozinha made crucial saves, leading to a goalless draw and a penalty shootout.

Ronwen Williams emerged as the hero by stopping four of Cape Verde’s penalties, securing South Africa’s spot in the semifinals.

Despite Cape Verde’s strong start and finish in the halves, their promising chances, including those from Kevin Pina, Kenny Rocha Santos, and Ryan Mendes, went unconverted, without testing South Africa’s goalkeeper Ronwen Williams.

Bafana Bafana briefly connected their passing game, with Teboho Mokoena attempting a long-range shot, easily saved by goalkeeper Vozinha.

However, players like Themba Zwane and Percy Tau struggled to make an impact. The Blue Sharks crafted the best chance in the first half with Ryan Mendes, but his attempt was blocked by Aubrey Modiba in the 40th minute.

South Africa initiated promising attacks early in the second half, while Cape Verde had a clear opportunity on the 56th minute with Garry Rodrigues breaking through the defense, only to direct a low shot straight at Williams.

Around the 60th minute, Bafana Bafana opted for an attacking change with Thapelo Maseko replacing Thapelo Morena, while the Blue Sharks introduced Willy Semedo and Patrick Andrade, surprising by withdrawing Mendes and Pina.

READ ALSO: Ivory Coast Secures Thrilling Semifinal Spot with Dramatic Last-Minute Extra-Time Goal!

Cape Verde had better chances in the remaining regulation 90 minutes and nearly secured victory in injury time when substitute Gilson Tavares had a free opportunity in the penalty area. However, Williams made a remarkable save, tipping the powerful effort onto the woodwork, forcing the game into extra time.

During the early extra time, Vozinha made two crucial saves, denying attempts from Mihlali Mayambela and Evidence Makgopa, while Gilson Tavares sent a shot across the goal at the other end. The second half of extra time saw no clear chances, but South Africa faced a setback as potential penalty taker Thapelo Maseko suffered a hamstring injury and was replaced by Terrence Mashego.

The shootout highlighted the brilliance of Williams, who saved kicks from Bebe, Semedo, Duarte, and Andrade, securing a 2-1 victory for South Africa and their first Afcon semifinal appearance since 2000. South Africa will face Nigeria in the upcoming semifinal at Stade de la Paix in Bouake on Wednesday, 7 February.

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