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South Africa advance to semis with penalty shootout win over Cape Verde

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Ronwen Williams denied Gilson Benchimol with a superb save in second-half added time of normal time and stopped four penalties as South Africa beat Cape Verde

After a gruelling AFCCON 2023 quarter-final clash that ended in a goalless draw after extra time, South Africa emerged victorious over Cape Verde in the penalty shootout, thanks to the heroics of goalkeeper Ronwen Williams.

Williams saved four penalties, including attempts from Bebe, Willy Semedo, Laros Duarte, and Bryan Teixeira, to help his team advance to the semi-finals of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations.

The match was marked by poor finishing from both teams, with Williams making a spectacular late save to tip Gilson Benchimol’s first-time strike against the woodwork with extra time looming.

Cape Verde goalkeeper Vozinha also made two exceptional saves in quick succession shortly after extra time began, denying Mihlali Mayambela and Teboho Mokoena.

But Williams stole the show during the penalty shootout, saving four penalties, as Bafana Bafana secured a 2-1 win and advanced to the last four of the tournament.

With this win, South Africa set up a semi-final showdown with Nigeria, looking to avenge their 2-0 defeat to the Super Eagles in the 2000 Afcon semi-finals.

The 1996 champions will aim to bridge a 24-place gap in Fifa’s rankings when they meet the three-time winners in Bouake on Wednesday.

For Cape Verde, the loss brings an end to their impressive run in the competition, having topped their group ahead of seven-time champions Egypt and four-time winners Ghana. Despite the disappointment, they can take pride in their performances.

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