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Africa Cup of Nations
February 6, 2013
• Moses Mabhida Stadium, Durban
Referee: B. Gassama
• Attendance: 54000
F. Diarra 75'
U. Echiejile 25'
B. Ideye 30'
E. Emenike 44'
A. Musa 60'
I've been Simon Harrison, and I hope I've kept you well informed! I hope to catch you all later!
Thank you for tuning in to Goal.com's LIVE coverage of Nigeria's 4-1 win over Mali in the first Africa Cup of Nations semi-final, as the Super Eagles proved to be too strong for their opponents!
Nigeria will face either Ghana or Burkina Faso in the final, with the second semi-final being covered by Goal.com later today, so be sure to tune in! Mali will go into the third placed play-off game.
Goals from Echiejile, Emenike, Ideye and Musa send Nigeria through to the final, despite a Malian consolation from Diarra! The first half proved to be too tough for Mali, as they were decimated, leaving Nigeria with little work to do in the second half to win the game.
And that's it! NIGERIA ARE IN THE FINAL! All of the squad rush onto the field to celebrate with their teammates!
90' + 3'
OOOH! Diarra AGAIN! He cuts in from the right, unleashing a powerful effort at goal, but the ball is deflected wide by a Nigerian block!
90' + 2'
Oooh! Diarra was so close to his second! Good work from Diabate again, as the big man sets his compatriot up for a strike, but he scoops the ball over the bar from 10 yards out!
90' + 1'
Keita whips in a freekick, with the Nigerian box loaded with yellow shirts, but his delivery is poor and he floats the ball over the back post and out for a goal kick.
Emenike hasn't come back on after being led off the field by a physio. That could be extremely worrying for Nigeria, hopefully it's only precautionary, as he was able to walk off the field.
Ooh! Diabate outmuscles Yobo and manages to get a strike away at Enyeama's goal. The keeper is more than equal to it, however!
Nigeria could well voluntarily go down to ten men here, as Emenike looks in some discomfort. He looked to strain his thigh as he unleashed a drive at goal.. that could be a costly injury for the Super Eagles.
Ooh! Emenike goes close yet again, and he's gone down holding his leg! He could have pulled or strained a muscle, he's writhing around on the floor.
Yellow Card Fousseyni Diawara
Diawara picks up a yellow after a clash with Mba, more out of frustration then maliciousness. Mali will unfortunately be leaving the tournament in a little five minutes and Nigeria will be deservedly moving into the final!
Mali have all but given up, to be honest. Their pressing is lacklustre, even when Nigeria have possession deep into their own half. Taking nothing away from Nigeria however, as the Super Eagles have been merciless with their chances.
Nigeria are happy to retain possession now we're into the final ten minutes of the match. Mali look powerless and relatively low on ideas. If anything, it was Nigeria's lax defending which allowed Diarra to score a consolation goal.
Ooh! Emenike almost manages to grab a second! Great work down the right flank from Musa, before the number seven puts in a dangerous cross! Emenike can't quite manage to turn it in!
The comeback could be on, Mali have recovered from worse deficits in past competitions! There is still plenty of time left on the clock!
Assist Cheick Tidiane Diabaté
Goal F. Diarra
GOAL! Diarra turns the ball home! Diabate manages to take the ball around Enyeama, before pulling the ball back to the edge of the 18 yard box - allowing Diarra to stroke the ball into the bottom corner!
Diabate thinks he's in behind the Nigerian defence, but he is called offside and rightfully so. The big man has at least been a focal point for his side, which is more than can be said for Samassa and Maiga earlier in the game.
Ooooh! Enyeama denies Samassa with a strong right hand! He beats it away brilliantly, and the Mali man then scuffs the rebound!
Tamboura gives the ball away easily and is then penalised for dragging down Musa. The left back was imperious in his last game, but has been awful so far today.
Yellow Card Samba Sow
Oooh! Mali go close! Great work by Diarra presents Diabate with the chance to have an effort at goal. Enyeama has to make sure his body is firmly behind the ball, as he makes a solid near post save.
Mahamane El Hadji Traoré
Nigeria miss out on another goalscoring opportunity with another offside in as many minutes. They seem so keen to score another, that they're being a little careless.
Mba fires wide! Mali are being relentlessly battered. There is surely no possible way that they'll get back in this game, it doesn't look as if they'll score one, let alone four!
Oooh! Musa thought he'd grabbed his second! Ideye has been given as offside, as Musa scrambled his own shot home. Almost five for Nigeria!
Musa tries another speculative effort, but it wildly swings off target. Mali look dejected and rightfully so. It has been far, far too easy for the Super Eagles.
Assist John Obi Mikel
Goal Ahmed Firaz Moosa
GOAL! Musa the substitute makes it FOUR! Mali were carved open by one pass, before the CSKA man raced through and slipped it beyond Samassa!
Mali have played a little better so far this half, but they're still extremely vulnerable on the counter. Ideye just raced clear again, but N'Diaye managed to recover.
Good interception from Ambrose! Diabate was almost played through on the Nigerian goal, however the Celtic man managed to outpace the big strike and touch the ball out of play.
Cheick Tidiane Diabaté
Diabate is certainly a much more offensive option for Mali. The big man is certainly a presence, and their decision to sacrifice the more defensively minded Sissoko shows that they're desperately searching for their first goal of the afternoon.
Musa has replaced Moses as a precaution more than anything. He seemed to be having some trouble with his ankle. Enyeama is still waiting for his first test, he just watched another Malian header loop over his bar.
Mali have enjoyed a little more possession in the second half, but they're yet to do anything with it. It's little wonder that Samassa makes rash decisions to shoot and run with the ball when he receives it, as he's barely touched it!
Ahmed Firaz Moosa
Emenike goes down, and stays down for a couple of minutes, before the referee tells him to get off the field for treatment. Rightfully so, he must be winded at the very worst, I'm not quite sure why he stayed down for so long.
Diarra replaced Maiga at the break, but the switch is yet to have any real impact. The swap may make Samassa a little less isolated, however Maiga did at least look composed and creative in possession, even though he was lacking a final product.
Mali definitely haven't come racing out of the blocks in the second half. It seems like it could be more of the same, as Emenike immediately looks dangerous on the ball.
Oooh! Keita goes close! The midfielder finds himself with an opportunity from 8 yards out, but sidefoots the ball wide of the post! He should have down better there perhaps..
And we are underway! Mali look to have gone with two men up front now. Don't think that the comeback is beyond them quite yet, they've got past history of coming back from four goals down within 11 minutes!
Mali have been really disappointing, after failing to build on a composed start. Carteron's changes haven't done his side any favours, and they are staring at an exit from the competition. Tamboura, Keita and Maiga have been quiet throughout. Nigeria will need to not get too complacent, the game isn't quite won yet!
The half time whistle goes! I think it may aswell be the final whistle, surely Mali can't get back in this game? They will need to produce quite a second half performance to reduce this deficit and turn the match around!
45' + 1'
Tamboura looks to drift in at the back post, but Ambrose intecepts the ball well. Nigeria haven't been troubled, and Enyeama has been mostly a spectator, except for claiming a couple of crosses.
Assist Ogenyi Onazi
GOAL! It's gone in, but bizarrely! Emenike fires in the free-kick, it takes a huge deflection off the wall, sending Samassa the wrong way! Game over now, surely!
Sissoko is penalised for a foul on Emenike, and the referee awards Nigeria a free-kick on the edge of the Malian box. They converted one in their last game...
Carteron looks distraught at what he has seen so far from Mali. He will have to give an extremely inspirational teamtalk if he is to breathe confidence into his side. Other than Maiga and Keita, nobody else has shown any creativity.
Things have calmed down a little, after five minutes of madness from Mali. Keshi will be delighted with his side's first half showing, they have looked potent in attack, while solid in defence. Oboabona has been particularly good at the back for the Super Eagles.
Yellow Card Modibo Maiga
Mali look clueless at the back, the pace of Nigeria's forward line seems to have shellshocked them. Every time Emenike, Moses or Ideye gain possession, their shape falls apart.
Mali definitely need to change something here, Samassa is looking isolated on his own up front, and I think that Maiga would be having much more luck in a central position. At this rate, Carteron will be hoping that his side can get to the break without conceding again.
Ooh! Onazi goes close! The midfielder bursts clear, spots Samassa off his line and attempts to chip him! He doesn't quite get his angles right however, and the Malian keeper manages to catch the ball. Mba was unmarked in the box and he isn't happy at Onazi's attempts to grab the glory!
Mali have to equal their scoring tally from the entire tournament, if they are to win this match outright! If they can notch three goals, I would be very surprised, so far they have offered little offensively.
Before the game began, I thought that Tamboura would be able to keep Moses quiet, but I couldn't have been more wrong! Ideye takes another strike at goal, but this time Samassa is equal to it. Nigeria have their tails up.
Goal Brown Ideye
GOAL! Emenike crosses and Ideye turns the ball home! Moses involved again to release Emenike! Samassa almost gets there, but can't keep it out!
Fantastic play by Victor Moses for Nigeria's goal. Tamboura, who has been a consistent colossus throughout this tournament was turned inside out by the Chelsea man, who beat him with a nutmeg. Nigeria are pressing on, looking for that second goal to kill off the game.
Can Mali score two goals to pull themselves ahead in this match? They are yet to score more than one goal per game in this year's Africa Cup of Nations, Carteron's men are definitely in a tough position now!
Yellow Card E. Ambrose
Assist Victor Moses
Goal Ederson Uwa echiejile
GOAL! Echiejile! The left back pops up at the back post, and heads home a great cross by Victor Moses at the back post! The Super Eagles are ahead!
Moments earlier, Emenike was involved in some great hold up play, but was robbed of the ball by some great defending by N'Diaye, just as he looked to pull the trigger!
Oooh! Mikel had Samassa worried there! The midfielder fired a half volley at goal from range, and the ball almost nestled in Samassa's top left hand corner!
Samassa drives at the Nigerian defence, but is robbed of the ball despite having support out wide on the left. The Mali forward is looking rather isolated against a solid line of green shirts.
Limited pressure from both sides still, as both seem prepared to allow the opposition to retain the ball and maintain their shape. Cagey stuff.
Very even in the opening stages, it's very difficult to predict which way this will go! Both sides have looked composed in possession, and both sides have some strong players. Nigeria seem more offensively-minded though.
DOUBLE CHANCE! Ideye bursts clear of the last defender, before Samassa saves the ball with his foot! The rebound evades Emenike, before Moses sees his own effort blocked! Unlucky!
Mba makes a driving right down the right flank, holding off two defenders, before the ball struck a Mali player to go out for a corner. The referee gives a goal-kick however! Mba is furious.
Ooh! Sissoko this time! The new Fiorentina midfielder hit a strike from range, and it whistles just over Enyeama's bar. The keeper had it covered though! Nigeria still searching for a good first chance.
Oooh! K. Traore ghosts in at the front post, diverting a Mali corner just past the post! Enyeama was stood helpless, and will be glad to have seen the luminous ball flash past the woodwork!
Maiga has looked most dangerous for Mali so far, whereas Moses looks to be set for a difficult afternoon against the powerhouse Tamboura. Mali have had the better of these opening stages chance-wise.
Enyeama gets his first touch of the ball, claiming a Diawara free-kick. Wague has had the best chance so far. No joy so far for the pacey Nigerian forwards.
Ooh! Oboabona manages to make another block, this time to turn a Tamboura cross away from the danger area! The Mali left-back really is a powerful ball carrier. Wague puts the resulting corner over the bar!
Not even a sniff of a chance yet, I would imagine that both goalkeepers will be keen to get a touch of the ball to settle their nerves!
There's definitely no urgency from either side, and with both sides boasting midfield quality in Mikel, Keita and Sissoko, they have the personnel to play a patient game.
Oboabona manages to close down Mali's Keita, who attempted to get an early shot away at Enyeama in the Nigerian goal!
A rather relaxed start to the game, as both teams aren't willing to press high up the pitch. This game will definitely be finely balanced, neither side will want to give up an early lead - not least Mali, who haven't been prolific so far.
And we are underway! The stadium boasts a good atmosphere, as should be expected as we are reaching the latter stages of this year's tournament! Nigeria are in green, while Mali are wearing yellow!
Mali are yet to score more than one goal in any of their Africa Cup of Nations games, while Nigeria boast Emenike - one of the competition's highest scorers! But with two clean sheets for Mali thus far, they could nullify their opponent's key forward man.
That's right, for Mali there are two Samassas! What makes it even more complicated, is that the two players have the same first name too!
Nigeria starting line-up: Enyeama, Echiejile, Ambrose, Omeruo, Oboabona, Mikel, Moses, Onazi, Mba, Ideye, Emenike.
Mali starting line-up: Samassa, Tamboura, Diawara, N'Diaye, Wague, Keita, Sissoko, M. Traore, K. Traore, Samassa, Maiga.
I'm Simon Harrison, and I will be keeping you all up to date with proceedings at Moses Mabhida Stadium this afternoon! Nigeria are still unbeaten in this year's tournament, and will be looking to continue this run today!
Hello and welcome to Goal.com's LIVE coverage of the first Africa Cup of Nations semi-final between Mali and Nigeria!
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