Defending champions Nigeria were shown the exit out of the Total Africa Cup of Nations playing out a 0-0 with South Africa at Al Salam Stadium on Friday night.
In the other group game, Cote d’Ivoire pipped Zambia 1-0 to finish top of the log with six points. South Africa picked five points, Nigeria four points and Zambia one point.
Olympic Eagles manager Imama Amapakabo kept faith with the same XI that defeated Zambia 3-1 on Tuesday.
South Africa coach David Notoane made three changes to the side that edged Ivory Coast 1-0 on Tuesday, with Thabiso Monyane, Siyabonga Ngezana and Athenkosi Dlala earning starts at the expense of Sipho Mbule, Grant Margeman and Kegan Johannes.
Winger Ibrahim Sunusi missed from close range as Nigeria pressed for the curtain raiser.
After a quiet start, the South Afrians carved their first opening in the 28th minute after Kamohelo Mahlatsi unleashed a curling effort that was parried away by goalkeeper Adamu Abubakar.
Teboho Mokwena came close to breaking the deadlock three minutes before the break with a strike from outside the box that rattled the woodwork.
Nigeria were going hard on tackles early in the second stanza and South Africa had a casualty seven minutes into the second stanza after Lyle Foster was replaced by Keletso Makgalwa.
Makgalwa had a glorious chance to break the deadlock for the South Africans side with 20 minutes remaining after Luther Singh cushioned a cross into his path, but the Mamelodi Sundowns midfielder guided his header wide.
As time marched on, Notoane’s had another chance to snatch a late winner in the last four minutes after Makgalwa threaded a through ball that found Singh but the Portugal-based striker missed by a whisker.
Nigeria almost won the game at injury time. Unmarked Sunday Faleye missed from six yards as his poor header went off target.
In the end, South Africa held on to a get a decisive point that saw them qualify for the semi-finals as the second best team in Group B and sets up a semi-final clash with Egypt on Tuesday.