After knocking out hosts and favourites Egypt in the previous round, South Africa face three-times champions Nigeria in the quarter-finals of the Africa Cup of Nations.
Bafana Bafana’s triumph was all the more impressive given they had lost two of their three group games, yet a late strike from Thembinkhosi Lorch sealed an unlikely win.
Nigeria overcame holders Cameroon in the previous round despite suffering a surprise group-stage defeat to Madagascar, and the Super Eagles are favourites to make the last four.
Nigeria failed to beat South Africa in qualifying for the tournament, losing at home and drawing away. In fact, Gernot Rohr’s team are winless in their last five encounters with their rivals from the south of the continent.
bet365, though, offer Nigeria at evens (2.00) to win in 90 minutes and at 4/9 (1.44) to qualify. A South African win without extra time is offered at 7/2 (4.50)with the side available at 13/8 (2.62) to progress to the semi-finals.
John Obi Mikel missed the win over Cameroon with a knee injury but is pushing for a return on Wednesday evening and is in contention for a starting berth.
These two sides have met on plenty of occasions in recent years, and opposing early goals has been a profitable selection in a number of those matches.
Four of the last seven clashes between these two sides have been goalless at half-time and the sides’ respective records in the competition so far point towards another cagey opening.
Nigeria have scored five goals so far, with four of those goals coming in the second half, whilst South Africa have netted just twice – with both recorded after the break.
Indeed, all four of Bafana Bafana’s games have been goalless at the break and there should be some interest in backing a repeat.
Under 0.5 goals in the opening 45 minutes is priced at 11/10 (2.10) and looks a sensible selection given the frequency with which it has paid out in games involving these two sides in the tournament so far.