Slick Nigeria to play Burkina Faso in final
Nigeria scored three goals in a blistering 20-minute first-half spell as they routed Mali 4-1 to reach the final of the African Nations Cup for the first time since 2000 yesterday.
After Mali settled first and threatened to take an early lead, Nigeria clicked into gear with goals from Elderson Echiejile after 25 minutes, Brown Ideye in the 30th minute and an own goal from Mali defender Momo Sissoko just before half-time.
Substitute Ahmed Musa, who replaced the outstanding Victor Moses after 53 minutes added the fourth shortly after coming on when he beat the offside trap and slipped the ball through goalkeeper Mamadou Samassa’s legs.
Mali, who famously came back from 4-0 down to draw 4-4 with Angola in the opening game of the 2010 finals, never looked like repeating that feat but did score a consolation goal when Cheick Diarra fired home in the 75th minute.
Burkina Faso reached the final for the first time with a dramatic 3-2 penalty shoutout win over Ghana after their semi-final ended 1-1 following extra-time.
They clinched the victory after Emmanuel Agyemang Badu missed Ghana's third penalty after a weak shimmy and shot.
The Burkinabe will be without the influential Jonathan Pitroipa in Sunday’s final after he was sent off three minutes from time.