Moses on target as Super Eagles secure spot in last eight
Victor Moses scored a brace from the penalty spot to secure Nigeria’s place in the quarterfinals of the Africa Cup of Nations following a 2-0 victory over Ethiopia at Rustenburg’s Royal Bafokeng Stadium tonight.
The moment of the match: The Chelsea striker made no mistake from the spot in the 79th and 89th minute respectively after he was fouled on both occasions inside the penalty box.
The victory means Ethiopia and defending champions Zambia were booted out of the competition. Zambia drew 0-0 with Burkina Faso in Mbombela in the other Group C final match.
The Ethiopians suffered a major blow when goalkeeper Sasay Bancha was given a red card for a rough tackle on Moses that caused the second penalty.
The Super Eagles came into the match tied with defending champions Zambia on two points from two games and they needed their first win in the competition to progress further.
Nigeria used steady build-ups in a bid to penetrate the Ethiopian defence lead by captain Degu Debebe.
But Stephen Keshi’s charges lacked composure in front of goal.
Ethiopia looked more improved compared to the side that was walloped 4-0 by Burkina Faso in Nelspruit on Friday.
They were more comfortable on the ball compared to the Super Eagles who easily lost possession. The Ethiopians relied heavily on the quick counter-attack, hoping to catch the sloppy Super Eagles defence off-guard.
Nigeria came close to grabbing the lead in the 34th minute when defender Ederson Echiejile’s header forced Bancha to produce a great save.
The Ethiopians, backed by their vocal fans who painted the stadium green and yellow, piled more pressure on the Super Eagles to ensure they have a cushion at half-time.
But the Super Eagles’ Josiah Omeruo fluffed the best chance on the stroke of half-time when he volleyed over the crossbar instead of picking a spot.
The Ethiopians came into the second-half highly motivated after getting a half-time pep-talk from their coach Sawunet Bishau.
The Nigerian defence was forced to use their physical strength to stop the East African side from scoring as they gave them all sorts of troubles.
Nigerian keeper Vincent Enyeama made a dramatic save in the 55th minute to deny striker Gibeto Kebete the opportunity to break the stalemate from a long range effort.
Save of the match: Bancha stood between the Super Eagles and the opener in the 70th minute when he saved Sunday Mba’s powerful shot from the edge of penalty box.
The Super Eagles gained momentum towards the dying minutes of the match forcing Ethiopia to defend deep in search of the winner and they got rewarded by Moses.