Mikel: Nigeria stopped Cote d’Ivoire from playing

The midfielder has said the key to their victory over the Elephants was to not allow their opponents play their own football

Nigeria midfielder John Obi Mikel has praised his side’s 2-1 victory against Cote d’Ivoire in Sunday’s Africa Cup of Nations quarter-final.

Sunday Mba scored the winning goal after Cheik Tiote had cancelled Emmanuel Emenike’s first-half opener.

“We’re very happy with our achievement,” Mikel said after the game. “A big congratulations to Ivory Coast for their achievement so far in the tournament but today we knew that they’re a good team so if we were able to work together and play for each other on the pitch, then we could stop them.

“And that’s exactly what we have done today.”

Having defeated the pre-tournament favourites, Mikel was asked if the Super Eagles now have the confidence to reach the final of the tournament for the first time since 2000.

“We still have a semi-final to play. We have to keep taking each game one at a time and hopefully if we manage to play well like we did today, we will be very pleased with ourselves,” he concluded.

Nigeria will play against Mali in the semi-final on Wednesday in Durban.