Super Eagles are Nations Cup champs!
Posted: 10 February 2013 Time: 10:25 pm
Sunday Mba scored on Sunday night to hand Nigeria a 1-0 win over Burkina Faso in the Africa Cup of Nations Final.
It is 19 years since Nigeria took the title – and Stephen Keshi becomes only the second man to win the trophy as player and coach (the other being the late Egypt legend Mahmoud El Gohary).
Burkina Faso played a hard-fought game, but were ultimately outclassed by the Super Eagles, who sealed the win with a Nigeria-based youngster in Mba, supporting Keshi’s philosophy of getting rid of the ‘egos’ in the national team set-up.
The match started as a scrappy affair, although Nigeria settled soonest.
Brown Ideye was the first to have a go when he shot over an empty goal, after Burkina Faso goalkeeper Daouda Diakite could not hold onto an easy catch after a corner.
Aristide Bance, who made an impression in the semi-final, had a couple of chances soon after, sending a long-range effort over the bar, and then hitting a free-kick from 20 metres just wide.
Nigeria broke the deadlock on 40 minutes, and credit must go to the Super Eagles for persisting in the box. The referee waved play on after a foul outside the area, and Victor Moses could have got a penalty but stayed on his feet to send the ball to Ikechukwu Uche in the box. The ball then broke to Mba, who flicked it up over a defender and, before it hit the ground, sent a fizzing volley into the net.
The Stallions almost came straight back into it, when Jonathan Pitroipa went down in the area after a challenge from Kenneth Omeruo. The referee did not consider it a penalty, and rightly so. Shortly after that Bance hit yet another long-range shot over the bar.
Just before half-time Mba, high on confidence after his goal, shot well over with a long-range effort from outside the box.
Just after the restart Nigeria could have doubled their advantage when Moses lost his marker and played the ball to Ideye, but his shot from a tight angle was just tipped wide by Diakite at the far post.
A few minutes later Moses found himself in a one-on-one situation approaching the keeper, but took too long to have a shot, allowing the defence to catch up with him, and the opportunity was lost.
On the half-hour mark Nigeria went on a speedy counter-attack, culminating in Moses finding substitute Ahmed Musa in the box, but the striker fell over with a goal in his sights.
Burkina Faso then went on a counter attack of their own, with Prejuce Nakoulma playing in substitute Wilfried Sanou, who hit a great shot towards the far post, but Vincent Enyeama made a fantastic finger-tip save to keep Nigeria in the lead.
Nigeria then had two chances in close succession: Moses was denied by Diakite from close range, before Ideye failed to get on the end of a ball across goal.
But Nigeria held onto their lead nonetheless, and went on to lift the trophy for their third Nations Cup victory.