Match - Tue 29 May, 18:00, Cape Town Stadium
Flying Eagles crash out
Nigeria's Nzube Anaezemba
However, Flying Eagles coach John Obuh blamed their latest loss to poor officiating by Lesotho referee o.Koto.
“We do not have to win these games at all costs and the referees should be told so. The South African player was offside clearly and the goal should not have stood,” said a disappointed Obuh.
“South Africa pressed us but they did not need the assistance of the referee to win this game.
“The referee should have done much better because that was the same thing that happened in the game between Ghana and South Africa.”
South Africa coach Solomon Luvhengo said this was a game of two halves.
“The first half they put us under pressure but in the second half, we dominated,” said Luvhengo.
“It was a tough game. It was important to win difficult games like this and this we did.”
The South Africa handler dismissed Obuh’s accusation that they were helped by the referee to win the match.
“It was a good winning goal. There was no cheating,” said Luvhengo.
“It’s difficult to lose, it’s not easy, but we ought to learn from a failure. It was unfair to say so because we worked hard for everything we got.”
Nigeria needed to win this final group game to stand any chance of making it into the last four of the invitational tournament, but in the end they failed to do so.
South Africa, on the other hand, could well advance to the final stages if Ghana fail to beat group leaders in the last game of the group later Tuesday.
Substitute Jerry Mxabo, who threatened for most of the day, finally grabbed the match winner on 85 minutes.
The Flying Eagles really stepped up their performance after losing their first two games to Ghana and Argentina.
They played with a lot more confidence and unlike their previous games, they played more like a team, stringing passes between themselves.
However, the Nigerian attack was again ineffective despite the sensational dropping of Enugu Rangers striker Alhaji Gero for Josiah Christian.
The African champions at least made a couple of attempts at scoring goals, but overall South Africa created most of the chances and should have won by a bigger margin but for poor finishing.
The Amajitas even had a goal disallowed for an infringement on 70 minutes.