However, Nigeria nicked the victory at the eleventh with William Troost-Ekong scored the winning goal.
Samuel Chukwueze, recalled to the side after missing the previous round, put the Super Eagles ahead in the 27th minute. Initially flagged for offside, it's given after a review! "South Africans are not naturally mobile", he added.
It was originally planned to use VAR from the semi-final stage but it will now be brought in from the last-eight games.
They were then expected to be sacrificial lambs against hosts Egypt at this venue, but Bafana Bafana had not read the script. Stewart Baxter keeping faith in the team!
They have also missed the last two World Cups.
Left-back Jamilu Collins made his first appearance in Egypt after shaking off a pre-tournament injury while Villarreal forward Chukwueze came in for Moses Simon in the Nigerian attack.
After scoring the victor in Nigeria's opening Cup of Nations game against Burundi, Ighalo delivered a match-winning performance against defending champions Cameroon in the last 16. They could take a huge step to a third title with a win tonight!
Elsewhere from the bedlam of AFCON 2019, if South Africa's result was unfathomable, Nigeria's 5 goal thriller with Cameroon was just what the tournament needed.
"No‚ we'll go into the game as we do every game".
"They have been a powerhouse of African football for a long time". I don't think that he is fooling anybody to tell you the truth.
Now up against each other after two intriguing clashes, both Nigeria and South Africa will be quietly confident of coming out of this with a win.
Nigeria's defender William Ekong celebrates his goal during the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) quarter final football match between Nigeria and South Africa at Cairo global stadium on July 9, 2019. Banafa Banafa caused arguably the biggest upset of the tournament when they stunned hosts Egypt 1-0 in the round of sixteen.