Senegal became the first side to book their place in the Africa Cup of Nations 2019 semifinals courtesy of a 1-0 win over Benin, while Nigeria overcame South Africa thanks to a last-gasp winner.
Senegal 1-0 Benin
Senegal have moved one step closer towards their first ever Africa Cup of Nations title after securing a 1-0 win over ten-men Benin to book their place in the 2019 final four.
Everton's Idrissa Gueye scored the only goal of the game with 20 minutes left to play in a second half that also saw Sadio Mane have two goals chalked off for offside.
Introduced at the quarter-final stage, it was the first time the VAR video review system had been used at the tournament. Both decisions were correct, but it didn't prevent the Champions League winner, from being the catalyst behind his nation's victory over Benin, who had Olivier Verdon sent-off in the closing stages for a last-man foul.
"We're really happy to qualify, we haven't reached this stage in ages," said goalscorer Gueye. "We controlled the game well and scored the crucial goal."
Senegal, who will play either Madagascar or Tunisia in the semifinals, are now favorites to lift the title for the first time after hosts Egypt were knocked out in the Round of 16 by South Africa.
Nigeria 2-1 South Africa
(Chukwueze 27', Troost-Ekong 89' - Zungo 71')
The Super Eagles secured their place in the final four thanks to a last-gasp winner from central defender William Troost-Ekong. The Udinese man knew little about the strike as he bundled home from close range after finding himself on the end of a searching corner. The goal settled a tight affair in Cairo, with neither side able to assert their dominance for long periods.
Samuel Chukuwueze, recalled to the side after being left out in the previous round, put Nigeria ahead in the first half, scoring at the second attempt in the 27th minute to give his side the advantage. That goal was cancelled out in the second half, however, when Bongani Zungo's looping header found the back of Daniel Akpeyi's net. The goal was initially ruled out for offside, but was subsequently awarded with the assistance of VAR.
With the clock running down, and the tie heading towards extra-time, Troost-Ekong arrived in the box to deliver the fatal blow, finishing with his knee to send his team through to the final four.
Nigeria will now face either Algeria or the Ivory Coast when the semifinals take place on July 14th. German coach Gernot Rohr is hoping to lead the nation to a fourth AFCON title.