Captain Ronwen Williams saved four penalties to assist South Africa with arriving at the semi-finals of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations following a 0-0 draw against Cape Verde.
Bebe, Willy Semedo, Laros Duarte and Patrick Andrade were undeniably denied in the shootout by the remarkable Williams, who likewise made a terrific late save to tip Gilson Benchimol’s first-time strike against the woodwork and guarantee the tiresome quarter-last entered additional time.
Cape Verde goalkeeper Vozinha made two uncommon recoveries with hardly a pause in between not long after additional time started to deny Mihlali Mayambela and Teboho Mokoena.
South Africa will currently get the opportunity to vindicate their loss by Nigeria on their last appearance in the Afcon semi-finals, when they were beaten 2-0 by the Super Eagles in 2000.
In a match that was mostly defined by subpar finishing, this was as near as either team would get in regular time. It will likely be remembered as the save of the tournament.
Williams’ fingertip save as he leaped into the air to keep out Benchimol’s effort by the narrowest of margins was a fantastic reaction save, and he will surely be a contender for the Best Keeper award when the tournament is complete.
The 32-year-old goalkeeper displayed exceptional skill, stopping Cape Verde’s first three penalties by diving to his right and leaping in the opposite direction to thwart Andrade. He appeared to consult notes on a water bottle between each kick.
Cape Verde had more possession early on, but South Africa’s Teboho Mokoena and Themba Zwane missed opportunities. Percy Tau was involved in a contentious moment, seemingly pushing Kenny Rocha Santos, but no action was taken.
The match was far from thrilling, with some spectators finding entertainment in celebrating Ivory Coast’s win over Mali in a previous quarter-final.
Garry Rodrigues and Kenny Rocha Santos started for Cape Verde, but Rodrigues missed a chance, shooting straight at the goalkeeper.
Cape Verde had chances after bringing on Bebe, but South Africa’s Mokoena scored while Lepasa and Modiba missed, resulting in a 2-1 victory for Hugo Broos’ side.
Broos has maintained consistency in his team selections, and South Africa faces a tough challenge against their next opponents, who have reached the semi-finals 13 times in 15 Afcon appearances and have kept four clean sheets in a row.
With Williams in top form, South Africa’s defense looks solid, posing a challenge for Victor Osimhen and his teammates as they aim to overcome the 1996 champions in Bouake on Wednesday.