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Highlights of Nigeria v. Burkina Faso match
Video highlights of the African Cup of Nations 2013 finals between Nigeria and Burkina Faso.
By Ayodele Odumade
Home based player Sunday Mbah won the African Cup of Nations for Nigeria with a moment of magic, thus justifying the faith Stephen Keshi showed by selecting him in the squad. For a long time, Keshi has stated that Africa should look within rather than continue to employ foreign coaches or to stop sorting them when at the first sign of trouble with an indigenous coach.
There were unconfirmed stories that after the group stages, some officials in Nigeria were advocating that Keshi be replaced by a foreign coach. The Super Eagles triumph has probably put a stop to that notion now.
Nigeria made one forced change to their team as Emmanuel Emenike was injured and Ikechukwu Uche was chosen to start in his place. Uche though, showed why he was not selected from the start as he was ineffective and was replaced after the break.
Burkina Faso who had not won a game at the Nations Cup since they hosted it in 1996, looked overawed and it appeared that the occasion got to some of them. However, Nigeria was the better side and fully deserved to win.
As early as the first minute, Efe Ambrose got the ball down the left and crossed into the box but Daouda Diakité caught the ball.
In the 7th minute, Victor Moses put a free kick into the Burkinabe box but it was headed over by Ambrose.
In the 9th minute, Nigeria nearly took the lead. Moses took a corner and Diakite flapped but Ideye Brown’s header went over the bar. That was a lucky escape for the Burkinabe keeper.
In the 19th minute, Moses drove down the left and crossed the ball into the box. Once again, Diakite fumbled but caught the ball at the second attempt.
In the 38th minute, Bakary Kone headed a free kick over when he should have headed the ball back across the goal.
Two minutes later, Nigeria’s moment of magic arrived as they took the lead. Moses received a pass from Uche and should have played it back to him. However, Moses decided to shoot and it was blocked by the Burkinabe defence. It fell into the path of local boy, Sunday Mbah who flicked it past Kone with his first touch and toe poked it past Diakite before he could react. Nigeria went in 1-0 at the break.
Two minutes into the second half, Nigeria nearly doubled their lead as Moses set Brown free on the right with a pass. Brown tossed the ball to the byline and hit a shot from an impossible angle, which went across the goal.
In the 58th minute, Vincent Enyeama saved Aristide Bance’s header comfortably.
In the 65th minute, Elderson Echiejile had to be replaced by Juwon Oshaniwa due to an injury.
In the 73rd minute, second half substitute Germain Sanou hit a rifle of a shot but Enyeama pushed it round the post to preserve Nigeria’s lead.
Moses and Brown had chances to kill off the game but they failed to take those chances. Emenike who was missed greatly would have put away at least one of the chances that went begging. Jonathan Pitroipa who had his red card rescinded tried to galvanise the Burkinabes, but it was to no avail and he along with Bance were desolate figures upfront as they got frustrated.
As the final whistle blew, the Nigerian celebrations began. Before the tournament, Keshi said he had set himself a very high standard and goal for himself and boy, did he deliver.
Keshi’s name will go down in the history books as the first indigenous coach to win the African Cup of Nations for Nigeria and only the second player to win the Nations Cup as Captain and Manager. The next stop for Nigeria will be the Confederations Cup in Brazil, later in the year where they will represent Africa as champions of Africa. Who would have thought that three weeks ago, when Nigeria stumbled into the quarter finals?
Arguably, Nigeria had the best striker in Emmanuel Emenike, who finished as the top scorer of the tournament on a count back and the best keeper in Vincent Enyeama who did not put a foot wrong all tournament. Nigeria is back where they belong. CHAMPIONS OF AFRICA!