6 February 2013

Nigeria: Eagles Breaking 13-Year-Old Jinx, Make Afcon Final

The Super Eagles of Nigeria have qualified for the final of the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) after a scintillating 4:1 victory over the Eagles of Mali.

The last time Nigeria reached the final of the continental football show piece was in 2000 with Cameroon winning the penalty shoot-outs after a 2:2 draw.

A goal each from Emmanuel Emenike, Brown Ideye, Ahmed Musa and Elderson Echijele capped a great performance by the Super Eagles.

Victor Moses was the tormenter throughout his time on the pitch, creating the first and getting involved in the build-up to the second.

However, complacency at the final period of the second half saw the Malians pulling one back.

Analysis

The encounter started somehow quietly for the Super Eagles with the Malians taking the game to them. The Malians had two corner-kicks in the spate of few minutes and were threatening to take the lead.

After 20 minutes of play, the Malians already had five shots at goal against Nigeria's one.

However, magical moment from Victor Moses saw NIgeria taking the lead in the 25th minute.

Moses got the ball from the midfield, got behind the Malians defence after great foot-work before delivering a splendid cross for Echijele to coolly nod home.

And on the 30th minute,Emenike received the ball at the right wing from Moses, raced down and delivered an inviting cross to Ideye to add the second for the Super Eagles.

The Nigerias were not done yet with the business of the day as they kept pushing forward which pays off when Brown Ideye was hacked down outside of the area. Emenike blasted a shot which was deflected off Momo Sissoko into the net from th resulting free-kick at the 44th minute.

Immediately the play resumed after the interval, Moses was forced out after sustaining an injury, giving room for Ahmed Musa to join the party.

On the 60th minute, Musa got a pass from the midfield, beat the off-side trap and raced forward to slot it pass

the Malian goalie for the fourth goal.

Musa should have gotten his second minutes later but the referee ruled off his second effort.

Afterward, Eyeama showed great reflex to prevent the Malians to get back into the game on the 72nd minute but they got their consolation goal minutes later.

Nigeria responded well after the Malians' goal as Musa raced down the flank and drove a fine cross to Enenike who couldn't find the net.

And on the 86th minute, Emenike delivered another thunderous shot but it went wide this time.

The Super Eagles will now square up with the winner between Ghana and Burkina-Faso on Sunday in the finals.

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