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AFCON : South Africa earn third spot with dramatic penalty shoot-out win against DR Congo

Goalkeeper Ronwen Williams was the hero as he pulled off two saves during South Africa’s penalty shoot-out win in the third-place play-off at the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON).


South Africa and DR Congo met at the Stade Felix Houphouet-Boigny in Abidjan after losing to Nigeria and hosts Ivory Coast respectively in the tournament’s semi-finals.


Neither team was able to score during a tense and cagey 90 minutes of normal time, and the match would go straight to a penalty shoot-out.


This did not start well for South Africa after Teboho Mokoena hit the post with the first spot kick and Samuel Moutoussamy scored for DR Congo.


Both teams scored their next three penalties, and although Zakhele Lepasa successfully converted South Africa’s fifth spot kick, Chancel Mbemba then had the chance to win the shoot-out for DR Congo.


But Williams sprung into action, saving Mbemba’s effort to force the shoot-out into sudden death.


The pressure was suddenly on DR Congo as South Africa continued to score their penalties, and Meschack Elia was unable to get his shot past Williams.


It was the second occasion that Williams, who plays for South African club Mamelodi Sundowns, had been the hero during penalties at the Africa Cup of Nations.


He had already saved an impressive four penalties in a quarter-final shootout against Cape Verde.


It was not entirely surprising that the third-place play-off had been a highly-defensive affair in normal time, with DR Congo only conceding five goals during the tournament and South Africa conceding just three.


Bafana Bafana had already been taken to a shoot-out in their semi-final loss to Nigeria, while DR Congo suffered a narrow 1-0 defeat to Ivory Coast.


South Africa won the Africa Cup of Nations in 1996, but this year’s third-place result is their best finish at the tournament since 2000.


The Africa Cup of Nations champion will be determined on Sunday, when Nigeria and Ivory Coast meet at the Olympic Stadium of Ebimpe in Abidjan.


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