Nigeria claim African title

2013-02-10 23:11

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Goal of the match: Sunday Mba’s 40th minute goal earned the Super Eagles their first Africa Cup of Nations trophy in 19 years.

Save of the match: Nigeria’s Vincent Enyeama denied Wilfried Sanou in the 73rd minute.

All hail Nigeria, the new champions of Africa!

The Super Eagles beat Burkina Faso at the National Stadium in Johannesburg tonight to make Stephen Keshi only the second man to have won the Africa Cup of Nations both as a player and as coach.

Nigeria were the better side on the night – they stuck to their game plan and never allowed the Stallions a kick at them.

Sunday Mba’s first-half goal was enough for Nigeria to be crowned champions.

Nigeria had been waiting for this moment for a long time – since they last won in 1994 but tonight it was their night and Burkina Faso were not going to spoil their party.

They will now represent the continent at the Fifa Confederations Cup in Brazil.

As for Burkina Faso, reaching the final was an achievement on its own as they had never qualified for the final before.

Tonight they struggled to repeat the performances that saw them knocking out Ghana and Togo.

The Stallions came into the game as the underdogs and it did not do their confidence any good as they started sluggishly, allowing Nigeria to attack. It seemed Burkina Faso were content with absorbing the pressure and launching counter attacks but that ploy was not effective as their lone striker, Aristide Bance, had three men to deal with.

Burkina Faso also relied too heavily on their star player, Jonathan Pitroipa, and he, too, was always policed by more than one player.

The Super Eagles, on the other hand, had the freedom of the stadium on and off the pitch as they were given too much space to manoeuvre.

Five minutes before halftime, Nigeria took the lead through Sunday Mba.

The Stallions tried to take the game to the Super Eagles but found Godfrey Oboaboa and company uncompromising at the back.

But Nigeria’s goalkeeper, Vincent Enyeama, had to pull out a great save to deny Wilfried Sanou’s goal-bound shot in the 73rd minute.

Nigeria withstood the late onslaught by the Stallions and hung on for dear life until the final whistle.

When Algerian referee Haimoudi Djamel blew the final whistle, the stadium – filled with mostly Nigerian fans – erupted.

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