Nigeria demolish Mali to book place in Afcon final
Moment of the match: Nigeria’s Victor Moses turned the Moses Mabhida Stadium into his playground when he provided two assists in the first half, which resulted in the first two goals of the match.
Save of the match: Mali’s Mamadou Samassa had to stretch all his muscles to stop Ideye’s goal-bound shot.
It’s the best way to describe Nigeria’s performance against Mali in Durban today as the Super Eagles booked a place in the finals of the Africa Cup of Nations.
It was a good game of football, worthy of a semifinal as both teams gave it their all.
But Mali had no answers for Nigeria’s attacking prowess, which was well orchestrated by Victor Moses. If the Super Eagles repeat this performance in the final, the trophy is as good as theirs.
In the 2010 edition of the tournament Mali came back from 4-0 down to level against Angola but having to come back from three-nil at halftime in today’s game was just too tall an order for the Eagles.
The game seemed to be evenly balanced in the opening stages as the two teams were still sizing each other up but as soon as Nigeria’s Elderson Echiejile scored the first goal – from a Moses cross – all hell broke lose.
A few minutes later it was 2-0 when Ideye benefited from another brilliant move by the Chelsea midfielder.
Nigeria made it 3-0 at halftime when a deflected Emmanuel Emenike free kick sailed into the net.
It was not over yet as substitute Ahmed Musa extended their lead in the 60th minute.
Nigerian skipper and goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama also showed he was in the game when he denied Sow Samba in the 70th minute. But he was hapless when Mady Diarra pulled one back for Mali.
Mali will now play in the third-place/fourth-place play-off on Saturday against the loser between Ghana and Burkina Faso.