21 January 2013

Nigeria/Burkina Faso: Nations Cup Upset As Burkinabe Shock Super Eagles

Photo: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix
Ikechukwu Uche of Nigeria reacts after missing a chance during the match against Burkina Faso.

Nelspruit — Burkina Faso continued the trend of upset results at the African Nations Cup, scoring with the last kick of the match to earn a debatably deserved share of the spoils with Nigeria in a 1-1 draw at Nelspruit's Mbombela Stadium.

Alain Traore's entrée in the second half turned things around for a docile Burkinabe side, who seemed to have little punch to counter the command Nigeria enjoyed for most of the Group C match.

Traore's selection to the squad by coach Paul Put had been a gamble because he was still injured when the deadline for the 23-man squad had to be announced, so the smiles were broadest from the Belgian as his choice proved inspired.

The Lorient midfielder was just the spark needed when he came on in the 65th minute with Burkina Faso down 1-0 already and suffering under dominant Nigerian presence.

Emmanuel Emenike had scored the first goal of the game on 23 minutes and the Super Eagles had plenty of half chances to extend the lead, but were let down by some wild shooting and a poor final choice of pass.

Brown Ideye could have had a hat trick inside the first 20 minutes and Ahmed Musa was constantly menacing.

Ike Uche, who came on for the goal scorer, was the biggest culprit, setting up two gift chances for himself and then finishing them by ballooning the ball wildly over the goalposts.

But there was also the sense Nigeria would get a second insurance goal - until Traore came on and started to take control in the midfield.

Burkina Faso then had a stroke of luck when Efe Ambrose was sent off for a second bookable offence, a dismissal by Algerian referee Mohamed Benouza that looked a little harsh.

It left Nigeria having to sacrifice a striker for the last quarter-hour to bolster the defence and suddenly 'Les Etalons' sniffed a chance to work their way back into the fray.

But it took until four minutes into stoppage time for Traore to deliver, playing the ball past Vincent Enyeama after a pull-back from Jonathan Pitriopia was not cleared by the Nigeria defence.

It left all four sides in Group C level after the first set of matches, mirroring the standings in Group A.

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