South Africa qualify for the AFCON semi-finals after beating Cape Verde on penalties

South Africa have advanced into the final four of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations after they defeated Cape Verde 2-1 on penalties – following a 0-0 draw after extra time – at the Charles Konan Banny Stadium in Yamoussoukro on Saturday night.

Both teams had chances to find the back of the net throughout an evenly-contested 120 minutes, but goalkeepers Ronwen Williams and Vozinha each made some critical saves to keep the score line blank and send the game to a shootout.

South Africa qualify for the AFCON semi-finals after beating Cape Verde penalties

And Williams then firmly established himself as the hero of the day, turning away four of the Blue Sharks’ penalties to see his side advance into the semifinals.

Cape Verde started and ended the half as the stronger of the two teams, with promising opportunities for Kevin Pina, Kenny Rocha Santos, and Ryan Mendes which they failed to take full advantage of – not even drawing South Africa goalkeeper Ronwen Williams into a save.

At the other end, Bafana Bafana fleetingly got their passing game going and had one long-range attempt from Teboho Mokoena which drew a comfortable stop from goalkeeper Vozinha, while the likes of Themba Zwane and Percy Tau struggled to get themselves into the game.

The best chance of the first half was created by the Blue Sharks in the 40th minute when an overload down the left resulted in a cutback and shooting chance for the dangerous Mendes, but his effort was blocked by Aubrey Modiba.

South Africa put together some promising attacks in the opening stages of the second half, but it was Cape Verde who had a clear opening on 56 minutes when Garry Rodrigues got in behind the defence, only to send a low shot straight at Williams.

Bafana opted for an attacking change just after the hour mark, as Thapelo Maseko replaced Thapelo Morena, while the Blue Sharks soon brought on Willy Semedo and Patrick Andrade – surprisingly withdrawing Mendes and Pina.

Cape Verde had the better chances in what remained of the regulation 90 and should have snatched victory two minutes into injury time when substitute Gilson Tavares went free in the penalty area, but his powerful effort was tipped onto the woodwork by Williams to send the game to an extra half hour.

Early in extra time Vozinha made two fine saves in quick succession to keep out efforts from Mihlali Mayambela and Evidence Makgopa, before Gilson whipped a shot across the face of goal at the other end.

The second half of extra time saw no clear chances at either end, though South Africa suffered a notable injury blow when potential penalty taker Maseko pulled up with a hamstring issue and was replaced by Terrence Mashego.

Yet the shootout was dominated by the brilliant Williams, who kept out kicks from Bebe, Semedo, Duarte, and Andrade to see his side claim a 2-1 win and advance into the final four of an Afcon for the first time since 2000.

South Africa will next face Nigeria in the first semifinal, set for Stade de la Paix in Bouake on Wednesday 7 February.

Cape Verde 0

South Africa 0

After extra time, Cape Verde/South Africa won 2-1 on penalties.

CAPE VERDE: Vozinha, Moreira, Costa, Lopes, Joao Paulo, Pina (Andrade 65’), Monteiro (L. Duarte 87’), Rocha Santos (Teixieira 118’), Cabral (Gilson 87’), Rodrigues (Bebe 72’), Mendes (Semedo 65’)

SOUTH AFRICA: Williams, Mudau (Mobbie 103’), Kekana, Mvala, Modiba, Sithole, Mokoena, Morena (Maseko 63’ [Mashego 114’]), Zwane (Adams 91’), Tau (Mayambela 85’), Makgopa (Lepasa 103’)

PENALTY SEQUENCE: (Cape Verde shoot first) Bebe misses (saved) 0-0, Mokoena scores 0-1; Semedo misses (saved) 0-1, Lepasa misses 0-1; Duarte misses (saved) 0-1, Modiba misses (saved) 0-1; Teixeira scores 1-1, Mvala scores 1-2; Andrade misses (saved) 1-2.

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