William Troost-Ekong scored a late goal as Nigeria won 2-1 against South Africa to qualify for the semi-final of the Africa Cup of Nations.
Samuel Chukwueze had bundled in the opener in the first half, but Bongani Zungu equalised with a header initially ruled out for offside. However, VAR replays showed a free-kick hit a Nigerian player on the way to him.
Football fans of both countries had thrown barbs at each other before the game, but it was only one side that celebrated into the night at the end.
Nigerian fans really about to take over this highway in Cairo!
This is why I love football cuz! 🇳🇬🇳🇬🔥🔥🔥
The supporters!! Bruv there’s even Egyptians and Algerians in the crowd pic.twitter.com/qD5j6YcgLK
— A$AP LOL (@Musaa_amir) July 10, 2019
Inside the stadium, fans of the host nation made it clear they weren’t watching as neutrals after they were knocked out in the previous round by the South Africans:
When Egyptians hate you
Las las Nigeria help them beat South Africa.
Musa, Chulwueze, Iwobi, Simon all did great pic.twitter.com/V21zmzHLnK
— Simon Jnr (@S_A_III) July 10, 2019
And there was a congratulatory message from Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari who hailed the “indomitable Nigerian spirit”:
Congratulations to the Super Eagles on a well-deserved victory over South Africa, tonight. You represent the resilient and indomitable Nigerian spirit. Two more victories, and the coveted Trophy will come home to us. All Nigerians are looking forward eagerly.
— Muhammadu Buhari (@MBuhari) July 10, 2019
In South Africa, many were disappointed. One famous musician described the game “as bigger than football” lamenting that South African loses to “Naija at everything”:
A South African government minister tried to look on the bright side:
Trying to locate AFCON wins in future for my people here in the South pic.twitter.com/DrF6pWl3KS
— Minister of Transport |Mr Fix (@MbalulaFikile) July 10, 2019
Nigeria face Ivory Coast or Algeria in Sunday’s second semi-final.
Senegal, who beat Benin 1-0 earlier on Wednesday, will play either Madagascar or Tunisia in the other semi-final.