Ahmed Musa goal and Bongani Zungu’s equaliser settled a 1-1 draw between Nigeria and South Africa in Nelspruit on Sunday.
Musa- Super Eagles skipper for the day in absence of Vincent Enyeama- broke the deadlock on 85 minutes, when he cut into range and then curled past Itumeleng Khune from just outside the box.
Bafana Bafana staved off a draw on the nick of full time as Nigeria failed to clear a corner and Zungu beat Godfrey Oboabona to Daniel Akpeyi’s rebound, before poking in from close range.
Andile Jali’s 62nd-minute spot-kick was saved by the Warri Wolves goalkeeper after Thulani Serero was brought down by Oboabona in the area.
The result means South Africa are yet in search of their first win over Nigeria in a competitive fixture, with seven losses, four draws and a solitary win in a Nelson Mandella Challenge invitational.
Nigeria got off to a fine start at the Mbombela Stadium, but every attempt to stun coach Ephriam ‘shakes’ Mashaba’s side with an early goal were smothered.
Enyimba International striker Kingsley Sokari’s speculative effort was nowhere near trouble for Khune, and Akpeyi was quick to tip Zungu’s shot over the bar at the other end before making a diving save off a thumping header from Kaizer Chief’s Tower Mulomowandau.
Nigeria caretaker coach Daniel Amokachi was forced into an early change, introducing Oboabona for Kenneth Omeruoa, who limped off after 12 minutes.
The end-to-end start to the first half continued into the half hour, with Bafana Bafana appearing to snatch initiative from their guests however lacking in initiative, amidst excessive passing game and nimble foot on the ball when a clinical approach would have put paid to their ploy.
Akpeyi’s moment of brilliance less than ten minutes into the second half kept Nigeria in the game; the goalkeeper first averting Jile’s casual spot kick, as well as keeping out the follow-up threat from ensuing play.
Bafana dominated the game in the closing quarter but could not penetrate Nigeria’s defence and, out of the blues, Musa took the lead with a beautiful curler.
Substitute Odion Ighalo almost doubled the lead moments later but his low shot missed target following a superb turn.
Zungu reawakened the stadium with the leveler to rescue situation after some nice piece of football by the hosts.