Nigeria advances to Africa Cup of Nations semi-finals

By Admin Wednesday February 06 2013 in Sports
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Nigeria reached its fifth Africa Cup of Nations soccer semi-finals in the last seven competitions with a 2-1 win over Ivory Coast last Sunday in South Africa.

 

Emmanuel Emenike and Sunday Mba scored for the West Africans in the 43rd and 78th minutes, while Cheik Tiot was the Ivorians’ scorer in the 50th minute.

 

The 1980 and 1994 champions, who are seeking to advance to its first final in 13 years since being eliminated by Cameroon on penalty kicks in 2000, shut out Ethiopia 2-0 and drew 1-1 with Burkina Faso and Zambia on the way to the quarter-finals.

 

Nigeria’s coach, Stephen Keshi, was satisfied with his team’s effort on Sunday.

 

“I am glad my team is progressing in every game,” said Keshi. “There is great discipline in the team and I just hope we keep going that way. The boys showed character. When the (Ivory Coast) levelled, we tried to defend and work out our tactics and we scored again.”

 

Ivory Coast coach, Sabri Lamouchi, said he was proud of his team, which was favoured to win the tournament. Failing to reach the semi-finals is a major disappointment for Ivory Coast, which is Africa’s top ranked team. They won their only title in 1992.

 

“Of course our aim was to win the title and, for certain players, this could be their last chance to do that so there is disappointment in the dressing room,” he said after the match. “It’s a great sadness for me as the players were working with one objective and that was to win the Nations Cup.”

 

Nigeria’s opponent in last night’s semi-finals was Mali, who defeated host country South Africa on penalties.

 

The other semi-finalists are four-time champions Ghana and Burkina Faso. The Ghanaians defeated newcomers Cape Verde 1-0 while Burkina Faso – their best showing is fourth place in 1998 – beat Togo 1-0 in the quarter-finals.

 

The third-place game takes place on Saturday and the final will be held on Sunday in Johannesburg.

 

In other soccer news, a young Canadian men’s team held the United States to a goalless draw in Houston last week. It was a satisfying result for Canada, which was shut out 4-0 by 23rd-ranked Denmark four days earlier. Canada is ranked 64th in the world.

 

“We were disappointed with aspects of our performance on Saturday (against Denmark), but the boys showed everything you would expect of Canadian soccer in terms of heart, passion and endeavour tonight (against the Americans),” said interim coach, Colin Miller. “I am very proud of the players. Everyone has been totally committed since I’ve arrived.”

 

Canada’s next friendly international is against Japan in Qatar on March 22.

 

RON FANFAIR

Nigeria reached its fifth Africa Cup of Nations soccer semi-finals in the last seven competitions with a 2-1 win over Ivory Coast last Sunday in South Africa.

Emmanuel Emenike and Sunday Mba scored for the West Africans in the 43rd and 78th minutes, while Cheik Tiot was the Ivorians’ scorer in the 50th minute.

The 1980 and 1994 champions, who are seeking to advance to its first final in 13 years since being eliminated by Cameroon on penalty kicks in 2000, shut out Ethiopia 2-0 and drew 1-1 with Burkina Faso and Zambia on the way to the quarter-finals.

Nigeria’s coach, Stephen Keshi, was satisfied with his team’s effort on Sunday.

“I am glad my team is progressing in every game,” said Keshi. “There is great discipline in the team and I just hope we keep going that way. The boys showed character. When the (Ivory Coast) levelled, we tried to defend and work out our tactics and we scored again.”

Ivory Coast coach, Sabri Lamouchi, said he was proud of his team, which was favoured to win the tournament. Failing to reach the semi-finals is a major disappointment for Ivory Coast, which is Africa’s top ranked team. They won their only title in 1992.

“Of course our aim was to win the title and, for certain players, this could be their last chance to do that so there is disappointment in the dressing room,” he said after the match. “It’s a great sadness for me as the players were working with one objective and that was to win the Nations Cup.”

Nigeria’s opponent in last night’s semi-finals was Mali, who defeated host country South Africa on penalties.

The other semi-finalists are four-time champions Ghana and Burkina Faso. The Ghanaians defeated newcomers Cape Verde 1-0 while Burkina Faso – their best showing is fourth place in 1998 – beat Togo 1-0 in the quarter-finals.

The third-place game takes place on Saturday and the final will be held on Sunday in Johannesburg.

In other soccer news, a young Canadian men’s team held the United States to a goalless draw in Houston last week. It was a satisfying result for Canada, which was shut out 4-0 by 23rd-ranked Denmark four days earlier. Canada is ranked 64th in the world.

“We were disappointed with aspects of our performance on Saturday (against Denmark), but the boys showed everything you would expect of Canadian soccer in terms of heart, passion and endeavour tonight (against the Americans),” said interim coach, Colin Miller. “I am very proud of the players. Everyone has been totally committed since I’ve arrived.”

Canada’s next friendly international is against Japan in Qatar on March 22.

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