South Africa advanced to the semi-finals of the Africa U23 Cup of Nations following a goalless draw against Nigeria in Group B on Friday evening.
Buoyed from the win over Ivory Coast, the South Africans pushed for qualifications to the semi-finals and with that, hauled out a strong line-up which included Lyle Foster, Teboho Mokoena and Luther Singh.
The youthful South Afrians were out firing quickly as Athenkosi Dladla and a free-kick from Mokoena in the opening minutes put the Ivorians in a spot of bother but neither attempts proved telling regardless.
Nigeria were soon on the charge when Ndifreke Udo unleashed a strong attempt from the edge of the area after the South Africans switched off on 15 minutes, but Darren Johnson saved for a corner.
A few big let offs for the Southern African nation closer to the interval denied the Nigerians the front foot due to indecisiveness and over tripping possession in the area amongst other matters.
David Notoane urged his side towards the breakthrough and this very notion came forth at the resumption with Foster quickly on the charge, though he was easily upended by the Nigerians. That proved to be the final involvement for Foster, who was forced off after 52 minutes for Mamelodi Sundowns’s Keletso Makgalwa.
South Africa kept pushing for the opener as Luther Singh found space on the area only to fire into the side-netting on 60 minutes following a one-two with Tercious Malepe.
Singh was guilty of another clear miss in the final four minutes as he failed to steer home Makgalawa’s inviting delivery with the goal gaping.
Nevertheless, South Africa ensured the point needed though to setup a date with Egypt in the semi-finals as the holders miss out on a chance to Tokyo 2020.