Bafana held by Nigeria in AFCON Qualifier

Soccer player celebrates

Bafana Bafana moved one step closer to the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations with a point in their 1-1 draw with Nigeria at the FNB Stadium on Saturday.

An early own-goal from Buhlebuyeza Mkhwanazi put the home side on the back foot but Lebogang Mothiba levelled after some magic from Percy Tau.

South Africa will now need a point away to Libya next year to secure their place in Cameroon, as the Super Eagles qualified as group winners.

Nigeria had started the match on the front foot with Ahmed Musa first with a shot from the edge of the area that was comfortably saved by Itumeleng Khune.

There was a lucky let off for South Africa with Musa given offsides when he was clearly on, having been played through on goal, but Nigeria where soon ahead as Mkhwanazi chested the ball past Khune into his own net from a Samuel Kalu cross.

Bafana responded almost immediately but Tau couldn't finish a super throughball into the box, while Aubrey Motiba was robbed of possession as he dallied on the ball.

Khune then raced off his line to almost the halfway mark to stop Alex Iwobi from racing through before a missed opportunity for Thamsanqa Mkhize when he opted to pass instead of shoot from a great position inside the box.

But South Africa were back in the game when Motiba levelled on 26 minutes as he tapped home from Tau's square pass after a brilliant turn to take three defenders out of the game and stroll into the box.

Only a terrible touch from Kelechi Iheanacho stopped Bafana from going behind again late in the first half, while Onghekaro Etebo volleyed wide for the first real chance of the second period.

A Mkhwanazi ball over the top for Mkhize was just overhit before Themba Zwane headed clear in front of his goal on 58 as Iheanacho headed just wide from a corner from the right-hand side.

Tau then played an excellent pass for Zwane to run onto but the ball just got away from him inside the area.

Thembinkosi Lorch was introduced for Thulani Serero on the 60 minute mark while Issac Success came on for Iheanacho for Nigeria.

With the visitors only needing a point to progress, they were happy to sit back and stifle Bafana's play, and a strong challenge from Musa ended a good give-and-go between Tau and Zwane.

A golden chance soon after went begging for Kenneth Omeruo as he headed just wide of the Bafana goal from a 74th minute corner.

Nigeria were denied a potential winning goal from another incorrect offside goal, with Musa clearly onside as he raced through and slotted past Khune.

It was to be the final real chance of the tie, as the away team saw out the remaining minutes, leaving Bafana with work to do against a Libya side that thrashed the Seychelles 8-1 in their AFCON qualifier.

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