17 November 2018 – Bafana Bafana will have to wait until the final match against Libya to confirm qualification to the 2019 AFCON finals after playing to a 1-1 draw with the Super Eagles at FNB Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
The grudge encounter had all the ingredients of a thriller and both teams got as much as they received and the draw which makes sure Nigeria is the first to qualify from the group was a fair result.
Nigeria has 10 points, South Africa 9 and Libya who beat Seychelles has 7 points.
South Africa’s last game is against Libya while Nigeria welcome winless Seychelles at home in March next year.
But Saturday’s encounter which hogged the limelight the whole week was thrill-a-minute.
Nigeria took the lead in the 10th minute through an own goal by defender Buhle Mkhwanazi who pushed a cross by Samuel Kalu into his own net giving goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune no chance.
The hosts almost immediately hit back but Lebo Mothiba delayed to pull the trigger in the 12th minute and the visitors survived.
The Nigerians then forced several corner kicks as they looked to kill the game but were caught on a counter attack as Themba Zwane made a sweeping attack, fed Percy Tau who unselfishly fed Lebo Mothiba to tap home the equaliser.
With Percy Tau looking lively Bafana Bafana started to take the match to the Nigerians but were almost caught on a counter attack but Kelechi Iheanacho tumbled in the box with the gaping goal at his mercy.
It then began to be a see saw battle as both teams chased the leading goal but the teams went to half time deadlocked at 1-1.
The second half started at a slow pace as the heat wave around Gauteng area began to take its toll.
Nigeria then almost grabbed the leading goal in the 57tminute but captain Thulani Hlatshwayo cleared off the line.
Serero then came off for Thembinkosi Lorch in a bid to add some bite in the midfield and the Orlando Pirates linkman got stuck from the word go.
Defender Kenneth Omeruo then saw his header from a free kick go tantalisingly wide as the visitors once again threatened to take the lead.
Nigeria had the ball in the back of the net in the dying minutes but two of their players were offside.
Starting line ups:
Bafana Bafana: Itumeleng Khune, Thamsanqa Mkhize, Thulani Hlatshwayo, Sfiso Hlanti, Buhle Mkhwanazi, Tiyani Mabunda, Hlompho Kekana, Themba Zwane, Thulani Serero, Percy Tau, Lebo Mothiba
Subs: Darren Keet, Motjeka Madisha, Teboho Mokoena, Siyanda Xulu, Ramahlwe Mphahlele, Thembinkosi Lorch, Dino Ndlovu, Vincent Pule.
Nigeria: Ikechukwu Ezenwa, Collins Jamilu, Ekong Paul, Balogun Aderemi, Ahmed Musa, Oghenekaro Etebo, Iheanacho Kelechi, Alex Iwobi, Ugochukwu Ogu, Kenneth Omeruo