Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Nigeria beats Ethiopia, faces CIV in Q/finals

(January 30, 2013, The Punch)--by Olufemi Atoyebi, South Africa, After two heart-breaking draws, Victor Moses led Nigeria to the ‘Promised Land’ when he converted two late penalties to give the Super Eagles a 2-0 win over Ethiopia on Tuesday and also register the country’s first win in the Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa. 

The victory gave the Super Eagles a place in the quarter-finals of the competition, which began in South Africa January 19. The quarter-finals setting means that Nigeria will battle one of the tournament’s favourites Ivory Coast by 4pm on Sunday, for a ticket to the semi-finals.

Nigeria coach Stephen Keshi said they expected a tough match against the Ethiopians. Keshi, who spoke after the match in Rustenburg, added that his team and the Ivorians have equal chances to scale through to the next stage. 

He told reporters, “We knew it was not going to be easy beating the Ethiopians. This victory is what we’ve been waiting for, for so long to make Nigerians happy. “Taking up Cote d’Ivoire is a different ball game; different mentality. 

It’s not the same thing as preparing against Ethiopia or the other team we played against in Group C. There’s no second chance for both teams. If I have a game plan I won’t share with anybody but with my players. We look forward to our game against the Ivorians.”

In Rustenburg, Moses scored the first past Sisay Bancha after 80 minutes and the second past the midfielder Addis Hintsa, who had to go in goal after the keeper was sent off for bringing down Moses in the box. Ethiopia had already used all three substitutes in their final Group C match and finished with 10 men for the second time in the competition after keeper Jemal Tassew was also dismissed in their opening match with Zambia.

Nigeria began to exert their superiority over Ethiopia in the closing stages. The Eagles dominated for most of the match but had little to show for their 13 first-half goal attempts as most of the efforts carried no threat. The game became more stretched as it went on and in the end Nigeria were deserved winners as Moses kept his cool from the spot. The Ethiopians came closest to scoring in the 80th minute when Vincent Enyeama made a one-arm save off a header.

The defeat meant Ethiopia finished at the bottom of the group and they were eliminated from the tournament along with defending Champions Zambia who drew 0-0 with Burkina Faso in the other Group C match.
Source: The PUNCH

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