Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 19 September 2019

2019 Africa Cup of Nations: Nigeria and Senegal through to semi-finals

Troost-Ekong's late winner against South Africa sends Nigeria through to 15th Afcon semi-final while Gueye goal for Senegal sees off Benin

Nigeria's William Troost-Ekong celebrates scoring the winning goal against South Africa in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations quarter-final in Cairo. Reuters
Nigeria's William Troost-Ekong celebrates scoring the winning goal against South Africa in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations quarter-final in Cairo. Reuters

William Troost-Ekong said his late goal that earned Nigeria a 2-1 victory over South Africa and a spot in the Africa Cup of Nations semi-finals was a "dream moment".

The centre-back knocked home a corner in the 89th minute in Cairo as Nigeria advanced to the last four of the competition for the 15th time in 18 appearances.

"I dream about moments like this. To score and for it to be important for the team is amazing," said Troost-Ekong.

"It's not my job to score, I'm a defender so I was happy we didn't give away too many chances. After they scored from a set-piece I thought that I wanted revenge.

"We were confident we could score again. We didn't want to go to extra time because we were going to be tired but I think it was the same for South Africa."

Nigeria, who won the last of their three titles in 2013, will face Algeria or Ivory Coast on Sunday for a place in the July 19 final.

"I think every game is tough now. We've seen big teams lose and go out of the tournament so it's going to be difficult whoever we face," said Troost-Ekong. "We came here to try and win the trophy."

Senegal's Idrissa Gueye celebrates scoring against Benin in their 2019 Africa Cup of Nations quarter-final. Reuters
Senegal's Idrissa Gueye celebrates scoring against Benin in their 2019 Africa Cup of Nations quarter-final. Reuters

Idrissa Gueye goal sends Senegal through

Senegal reached the Afcon semi-finals for the first time since 2006 when Idrissa Gueye scored to deliver a 1-0 win over Benin in Cairo on Wednesday.

Everton midfielder Gueye struck on 70 minutes, side-footing the ball into the net from close range after being set up by Liverpool forward Sadio Mane.

This was the first Cup of Nations match to use the VAR (video assistant referee) system and there were no controversial incidents.

Benin were reduced to 10 men in the closing stages when Olivier Verdon was given a straight red card for a last-defender foul.

On Sunday, 2002 runners-up Senegal will face giantkillers Madagascar or under-performing Tunisia in a semi-final in the Egyptian capital.

"We were expecting a complicated match and my players did not give up because they have a good mentality, were patient and respected instructions," said Senegal manager Aliou Cisse.

"At this stage of the tournament, anyone can beat anyone. We came here with the ambition of playing seven matches, and we will play them. We want to play in the final."

Benin counterpart Michel Dussuyer said: "I want to congratulate my players for the way they handle difficult challenges.

"The boys must be proud. They made the people of Benin proud. With this squad, we have advanced. Of course, there is disappointment, but the players can hold their heads high."

Updated: July 12, 2019 05:02 AM

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