Desire Oparanozie from the edge of the box powered home with a screaming shot that rattled the Banyana Banyana players to the bone. They had come into the game strongly, causing some anxious moments for the Super Falcons. However, coach Florence Omagbemi kept urging her wards to calm their nerves.
The defending champions charged back at the South Africans with Asisat Oshoala asking some questions of the South African defence. But Banyana Banyana keeper, Priscilla Lebogang was proving key for her side as she produced a fine save to deny Nigeria a goal in the 25th minute.
The South Africans did have the ball in the back of Falcons’ net just before the half-time break, but the effort was flagged offside.
After the break the Falcons piled up more pressure and in the 57th minute, Oparanozie scored the winner after Oshoala was brought down at the edge of the box.
Banyana Banyana almost got an equaliser but the Nigerian defence cleared their lines.
South Africa will now face Ghana in the third place on Friday.
Cameroon had beaten Ghana 1-0 earlier in the other semi-final. It took 71 minutes of labour before the Indomitable Lionesses could break the resolve of the Black Queens of Ghana. Midfielder Raissa Feudjio scored the only goal of the match for the ‘Les Lionnes’ to deservingly book their place in the grand finale and continue their march towards a historic first ever title in the flagship women’s competition.
Backed by a packed crowd at the renovated Ahmadou Ahidjo Stadium in the capital, Yaounde, Feudjio scrambled home after Ghana goalie Nana Ama Asantewaa fumbled with an aerial ball to set the tone for victory.
Despite the dominance, the Cameroonians had found the Ghanaian backline a mountain too tall to climb with Feudjio, Gabrielle Aboudi Onguene and forward Gaelle Enganamouit asking the West African defence several questions. The Ghanaians barely had a shot on goal throughout the first half, after being outplayed by the host.