Williams’ penalty heroics help South Africa secure third place at AFCON
Rowen Willians saved two penalties as South Africa defeated the Democratic Republic of Congo 6-5 on penalties to finish AFCON 2023 as third-place winners.
The game played on Saturday at the Félix Houphouët-Boigny Stadium in Abidjan stretched into penalties following a goalless draw after extra time.
The victory was sealed for South Africa when Williams stopped DR Congo’s fifth and seventh penalty kicks, replicating his quarter-final performance.
By not conceding during the game, Williams also claimed his fifth clean sheet in Ivory Coast.
It is the second time South Africa will win bronze at AFCON, and their first top-three finish since AFCON 2000.
Williams started the night with a confident stop at the foot of Silas Mvumpa while striker Evidence Makgopa blazed over for South Africa at the other end in a first-half low on chances.
The second period was much better and DR Congo had quickfire chances to take the lead but both Mvumpa and captain Chancel Mbemba could not find the target from promising positions.
Nothing separated both sides after extra-time but Williams, who failed to save one penalty against Nigeria in the semi-final loss, proved the difference in the shootout lottery to ensure South Africa finished AFCON 2023 in third place.