2015 African Nations Cup qualifiers: South Africa vs Nigeria
Posted: 10 September 2014 Time: 19:54
South Africa and Nigeria played out an intense 0-0 draw in their 2015 African Nations Cup, Group A qualifier at Cape Town Stadium on Wednesday night.
The result sees Bafana Bafana lying second in the group on four points behind Congo Republic, who defeated Sudan earlier in the day to move to six points, while Nigeria are third on one point.
Neither goalkeeper had to make a save in the first half, but it was an open game as a confident Bafana Bafana held their own against a rather tentative Nigeria.
Sibusiso Vilakazi looked lively early on, showing neat turns and touches to run at the Super Eagles defence, but with no end product to speak of.
Oupa Manyisa had the best chance of the half after Mandla Masango got down the right, crossed, and when Nigeria's half-clearance fell to the Orlando Pirates midfielder, his shot was blocked.
Andile Jali and Dean Furman were holding the midfield for South Africa superbly and really seem to compliment each other. Furman put in two particularly crunching tackles to regain possession, while Jali was spreading the passes with aplomb and looks in top form.
Jali and Manyisa nearly combined to great effect in the 16th minute but after a good touch from Manyisa to get clear in the box, Nigeria were able to recover and thwart the danger.
Nigeria were looking dangerous on the counter-attack and threatened to open the scoring in the 33rd minute when the blistering quick Ahmed Musa was played in behind, but an excellent sliding tackle from Anele Ngcongca denied him.
Musa's pace had been giving Thulani Hlatshwayo a lot of work to do at right-back, but for all of Nigeria's attacks they only managed two shots from range off target.
Thabo Matlaba and John Obi Mikel squared up in a heated argument just before half-time after some great pressing from the Bafana left-back as the home side ended the half arguably on top.
Shakes Mashaba threw on Tokelo Rantie in place of Bongani Ndulula at the start of the second half to inject some pace into the attack.
Furman and Jali combined to great effect after an hour of play as the former made another solid tackle in midfield to win the ball before Jali released Rantie into space down the left, but the substitute's left-footed shot could only find the sidenetting.
Onazi had Nigeria's first shot at goal in the second half in the 68th minute after a neat layoff from Mikel but his attempted curler rolled harmlessly wide of Meyiwa's goal.
Rantie was making a difference with his pace and dribbling but chose the wrong option on a few occasions, choosing to dribble too many players or not timing his runs and being played offside.
Ten minutes from time Mulomowandau Mathoho came to Bafana's rescue with a headed goal-line clearance from Nigeria substitute Ighodaro Osaguona's near-post header from Musa's right-wing cross.
However, Rantie had the best chance of the game in the 84th minute when he timed a run to perfection and was played in behind by Vilakazi, but Austrin Ejide came out smartly to save with his foot as the ball was destined for the bottom-left corner.
Manyisa kept the ball alive and after a mad scramble inside the box, Nigeria escaped after Jali's eventual shot from the edge of the area hit his own man, substitute Themba Zwane.
Vilakazi was then found guilty of trying to take on too many players when a simpler pass would have been better as South Africa continued their late pressure on the visitors' goal, but with no goals it ended as both sides had to settle for a point.