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Ethiopia Vs Nigeria
Moses is spot on as Nigeria reach last eight
By David Legge (AFP)
RUSTENBURG, South Africa — Chelsea midfielder Victor Moses converted two late penalties to give Nigeria a 2-0 win over Ethiopia on Tuesday and a place in the Africa Cup of Nations quarter-finals.
Moses slotted spot kicks into the right and left corners on 79 and 90 minutes to earn the Super Eagles a last-eight showdown with title favourites and Group D winners Ivory Coast in this north-western mining town Sunday.
It was a disappointing exit for bottom team Ethiopia, back in the big time after 31 years, as they finished the game a man short when goalkeeper Sasay Bancha got a late red card.
"This is a victory for Nigerians where ever they are in the world," coach Stephen Keshi told a packed post-match media conference. "This is a time for celebration.
"I thought Sunday Mba was outstanding in midfield and his introduction is part of my plan to build a team around young players, and senior players like captain Joseph Yobo, vice-captain Victor Enyeama and John Obi Mikel.
"Now we face title favourites Ivory Coast in the quarter-finals and there will be no second chance for either side. I have a game plan but, with respect, that is for the players and not for you guys (journalists)."
Ethiopia coach Sewnet Bishaw reacted to a 4-0 hammering from Burkina Faso in Nelspruit four days ago by making eight changes -- the most by a team so far in the competition.
Bancha was the third goalkeeper chosen for the Walias Antelopes in as many games with Jamel Tassew sent off during the opening round against Zambia and Zerihun Tadelle found wanting against the Burkinabe.
Nigeria made three changes as they sought maximum points and a place in the knockout stage -- a regular occurrence for the Eagles with only two first round exits in 16 previous appearances.
The two-time champions had the better of a goalless first half before a big, lively crowd at the Royal Bafokeng Sports Palace with a mass of Ethiopians on one side of the ground and almost as many Nigerians on the other.
Despite having far more of the ball, the Eagles only threatened to break the deadlock from set pieces with Efe Ambrose, the Celtic full-back returning after a one-match ban, heading wide when unmarked at the far post off a free kick.
Ikechukwu Uche was also off target with a header and came even closer from another header off a Moses corner that the partly unsighted Bancha pushed to safety.
While the Nigerians came forward patiently and favoured getting the ball out wide, the more direct Ethiopians attempted to play passes over the defence to danger man Salahdin Said.
Nigeria were looking equally ineffective in the second half as they tried to break down the Walias Antelopes defensive baarrier until a crude Alula Girma tackle on Moses earned them a penalty 12 minutes from time.
Moses calmly stroked the ball low into the right corner of the net as Bancha dived in the opposite direction and the goal set up a frenetic finish with both teams hell bent on scoring.
Captain Enyeama denied Ethiopia an equaliser with a spectacular save off a header before Bancha fouled Moses to concede a second penalty and his second yellow card was followed by a red.
Ethiopia could not bring on a reserve goalkeeper as they had used all three substitutes so midfielder Addis Hintsa went between the posts and although he dived the right way, Moses packed too much power and pace from the spot.
Ethiopia Vs Nigeria: Final score 0-2, Super Eagles leave it late but advance to quarters
Nigeria advanced to the quarterfinals of the Africa Cup of Nations after a very odd 2-0 win against Ethiopia. Nigeria needed victory to be sure of advancing no matter what happened between Zambia and Burkina Faso in the other game, and for 79 minutes it looked as though the Wayla Antelopes would hold out for a draw.
Nothing of particular note happened for most of the match. Nigeria looked relatively toothless, while Ethiopia were happy to soak up pressure and make vague gestures towards hitting the Super Eagles on the counterattack. At 0-0, Zambia and Burkina Faso were going to advance on the fair play rule.
Then, suddenly, it wasn't 0-0 anymore. Victor Moses burst into the penalty area and was scythed down with a two-footed challenge from Alula Girma, and the Chelsea man brushed himself off and sent Sisay Bancha the wrong way to score the goal that looked like it would lead Nigeria to the quarterfinals.
The Super Eagles' celebration was very nearly cut short just seconds later as Ethiopia fashioned their first real chance of the match, Saladine Said thumping a powerful effort goalwards only to be denied by a magnificent stop from Vincent Enyeama.
And then, suddenly, the points were wrapped up. Moses took advantage of a slip in the back to dash forwards, starting a three-on-one counterattack that was ended only by Sisay bringing the winger down in the box with another brutal tackle.
The goalkeeper was sent off, and with no substitutions still available, midfielder Addis Hintsa was forced to defend the spot kick. He fared no better than Sisay, and Moses made it 2-0 with another composed finish. That score lasted the seven minutes of injury time, leaving Nigeria as Group C runners-up ahead of defending champions Zambia
AFRICA CUP OF NATIONS
Venue: Royal Bafokeng Stadium, Rustenburg
Date: Tuesday 29 January
Kick-off: 17:00 GMT (Starting at 11:50 AM EST)
USA: ESPN 3
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