Club News

Semi Ajayi & Nigeria seal spot in AFCON final

Semi Ajayi in home Albion colours.

There were mixed emotions for Albion's AFCON duo on Wednesday evening.

Semi Ajayi's Nigeria and Grady Diangana's DR Congo both took to the pitch in their separate semi-final fixtures against South Africa and the Ivory Coast respectively.

Ajayi and Nigeria fought through a dramatic encounter via penalty kicks with the FIFA World Cup 2010 host nation at the Peace Stadium of Bouaké to earn their place in the final of the competition.

The centre-back continued his ever-presence in the heart of the Super Eagles' defence, playing all 120 minutes of action and it was they who took the lead through William Troost-Ekong's spot-kick just after the hour mark.

Further drama unfolded in the final minutes although José Peseiro's team looked to have booked their place in the final when Victor Osimhen finished off a swift counter attack to make it 2-0, VAR intervened to disallow the goal and then, in the dying embers, hand South Africa a penalty of their own. 

Teboho Mokoena duly fired home the last-gast penalty to force extra time, which couldn't separate the sides, despite Bafana Bafana being reduced to 10 men midway through the extra period.

That meant penalty shootout would decide the victor, with Nigeria holding their nerve to book their place in the final, which takes place on Sunday, February 11 (ko 8pm).

Grady Diangana in home Albion colours.

Grady Diangana's DR Congo had the chance to emulate the Super Eagles' achievement - facing a tricky task against the host nation.

Diangana was an unused substitute in the encounter, though, in which the Leopards fell to a narrow 1-0 defeat.

Sebastien Haller's 65th-minute strike was all that separated the sides at the Olympic Stadium of Ebimpé, sealing the Elephants' place in the final and seeing DR Congo fall at the semi-final stage.

Grady's team will now face South Africa in a third-place play-off game at the Felix Houphouet Boigny Stadium on Saturday, February 10 (ko 8pm).

  • Ajayi
  • Diangana