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AFCON 2023: Williams comes up huge as Bafana Bafana advance via penalty kicks

South Africa and Mamelodi Sundowns goalkeeper Ronwen Williams saved three consecutive penalty kicks in a spectacular performance that sent Bafana Bafana through to the semifinals of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations on Saturday at the expense of Cape Verde. South Africa won 2-1 a penalty shootout after playing to a scoreless draw through 120 minutes and it was Williams who was the star by making crucial saves before dominating the shootout. Bafana Bafana will face Nigeria in the semifinals on February 7 with a spot in the final at stake in Bouaké.

Neither team threatened much during normal time but Cape Verde looked more likely to find the net. The best chance of the first half arrived towards the end when a well crafted buildup from the Blue Sharks set up captain Ryan Mendes with space to shoot but his tame effort was blocked before the South African defense cleared.

It was more of the same after halftime. Cape Verde attacker Garry Rodrigues was played in behind on the left wing by a pass from João Paulo but his shot attempt was easily handled by Williams. The Bafana goalkeeper proved his credentials as one of the best goalkeepers at the competition with a crucial save in the second minute of stoppage time after Cape Verde substitute Gilson Tavares got on the end of a pass and the Mamelodi Sundowns keeper tipped the resulting shot off the crossbar before collecting and celebrating with a fist pump.

In extra time it was the turn of Cape Verde goalkeeper Vozinha to come up big, making a remarkable double save in the second minute of the first half. Neither team made substantial inroads on the attack and penalty kicks was the only way to decide a winner. There was little doubt left by the hero of the day, Williams, who saved Cape Verde’s first three attempts. Williams’ teammates made things interesting with consecutive misses by Zakhele Lepasa and Aubrey Modiba but Williams saved the fifth attempt from Cape Verde midfielder Patrick Andrade to confirm victory for Bafana Bafana.

Highlights of the match and the penalty kick shootout will be posted below when available.

Match Highlights

Full Penalty Shootout

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