Bafana hold Nigeria in 2026 World Cup qualifier

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  • Post published:June 8, 2024

Bafana Bafana were forced to settle for a 1-1 draw against Nigeria in their 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifier at the Godwill Akpablo Stadium in Uyo.

Nigeria, with three points from as many games, dropped to fourth place in the table as a result of the draw, while South Africa was in third place with four points.

Lesotho, the 149th-ranked team in the world, leads Group C with five points after defeating Zimbabwe 2-0 earlier on Friday.

With four points, Rwanda is in second place and has a superior goal differential than South Africa and Benin combined.

The game on Friday in the town of Uyo, in southern Nigeria, was a rematch of the 2024 Africa Cup of Nations semifinal between the Ivory Coast and Nigeria, which finished 1-1 before Nigeria triumphed on penalties.

Paul Onuachu, Ademola Lookman, and Benjamin Tanimu all had early-half attempts at goal for the home team.

South Africa got used to the game gradually.

When Teboho Mokoena’s free shot struck the crossbar, Nigerian custodian Stanley Nwabali was out of position.

Themba Zwane broke through the Nigerian defence on his own and scored the first goal in the 29th minute, rewarding the visitors.

After 36 minutes, Tanimu saved the Super Eagles after a chipped shot beat keeper Stanley Nwabali, but the Tanzanian defender made it out alive.

But after the break, Bafana Bafana frequently tore through the Nigerian defence, with Alex Iwobi setting up Fisayo Dele-Bashiru for the equaliser.

In the second half, there were opportunities for both teams to break the tie.

South Africa kept pushing forward, but visiting custodian Ronwen Williams cleared an Onuachu header, and Elias Mokwana was unable to complete another deft attacking move.

Additionally, Williams pushed away a goal-bound attempt for a corner in stoppage time to deny Lookman of Atlanta.

Group C is still very open. South Africa plays Zimbabwe at home on Tuesday, while Nigeria, two points behind Lesotho in fifth position, looks to win their first away game on Monday against Benin.

Photo by Justina Aniefiok/BackpagePix