Nigeria’s Super Eagles have in the last few minutes brushed aside the Eagles of Mali to move imperiously into the final match of the 2013 African Cup of Nations. First half goals from Elderson Echiejile, Brown Ideye and current leading scorer, Emmanuel Emenike ensured that a 1-1 scoreline in the second half was simply academic.
The match began with both sides playing a little cautiously, and the Malians playing a 4-1-3-1-1, sitting back and looking to catch the Nigerians on the break or on set pieces.
A few shots aside, the game finally came to life on 27 minutes when the brilliant Victor Moses, sprinting down the right flank, turned Adama Tamboura inside-out, nutmegged him for good measure, before squaring a waste-high ball to the far post which Elderson Echiejile ducked to nod past the helpless Mamadou Samassa in the Mali goal.
A few minutes later, Nigeria doubled their lead, Emenike the provider. Once again down the right flank, he took a pass from Victor Moses, skinned his man, drilled a hard, low ball towards the near post, where Brown Ideye slid in alongside a defender to bundle it past Samassa.
Ten minutes later, the game was over as a contest. Emmanuel Emenike took a free-kick which deflected off Mohammed Sissoko and hopelessly wrongfooted Samassa.
Though there were two goals in the second half, one for Nigeria by substitute Ahmed Musa, and Mali substitute, Cheick Diabate, the Super Eagles held on for Sunday’s final where they will play either Burkina Faso or Ghana.
When the referee blowed the final whistle, Super Eagles coach Stephen Keshi embraced defeated Mali great Seydou Keita & several of his former players.