Nigeria hammers Mali to reach Afcon final

Wednesday, February 6, 2013
Nthambeleni Gabara

Pretoria-The Super Eagles of Nigeria humiliated the Eagles of Mali with a 4-1 victory in the first semi-final of the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) at Moses Mabhida stadium on Wednesday.

With this win, the Super Eagles will face either Ghana or Burkina Faso in the final of the 2013 Afcon to be played at the National Stadium (FNB) on Sunday February 10.

The Super Eagles, who showed their intention to win the match, scored their first goal in the 24th minute through stalwart defender Elderson Echiejile.

Victor Moses dribbled and beat the Eagles defender Adama Tamboura with pace and curled the ball into the box, making it easy for Echiejile to beat Mali goalkeeper, Mamadou Samassa with a header.

Five minutes later, the pacey Moses frustrated the Mali players again with some wonderful moves with the ball. He passed an unmarked Emmanuel Emenike on the left flank, who delivered a nice cross to Brown Ideye in the box who then curled the ball into the back of the net.

Emenike scored his fourth goal of the tournament in the 44th minute from a set piece outside the box. Emenike’s shot sent Mali’s goalkeeper Samassa the wrong way after the ball hit midfielder Mohamed Sissoko and deflected into the far left corner.

At the half-time break, Mali was 3-nil down. In the second-half, the Eagles coach Patrice Carteron substituted Modibo Maiga and brought in Cheick Diarra.  

In the 59th minute, Ahmed Musa who came in for Moses scored the fourth goal for Nigeria after receiving a through pass from Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel.

However, in the 74th minute, Diarra scored a consolation goal for his team.

This was after Cheikh Diabate caught the Nigerian defence napping; as a result, he was left with the Nigerian goalkeeper, Vincent Enyeama, who pushed him into a tight scoring angle, forcing him to pass the ball to an unmarked Diarra in the box, who easily put the ball behind the net.

Nigeria advanced to the semi-finals after they eliminated a star studded and experienced Ivory Coast 2-1 comprised of Didier Drogba, Didier Zokora, Yaya Toure, Gervinho, Salomon Kalou to mention but a few.

Mali progressed to the semi-finals after beating Bafana Bafana

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