- Photo: Mesut Özil thanks Arsenal fans for their support
- Photo: Arsenal legend Robert Pires enjoys dinner with Olivier Giroud
- Ian Wright: Arsenal’s point at Leicester doesn’t look bad now!
- Chelsea’s Cesc Fàbregas lifts lid on his relationship with Arsène Wenger
- Neville, Robson & more: Twitter reacts as Leicester stun Man Utd
- Sturridge & more: Twitter reacts as Lampard scores AGAINST Chelsea
Africa Cup of Nations 2013: Eight standout players of the group stage
Africa Cup of Nations 2013: Ed Owen looks over which players have stood out in the group stages of the tournament
Siyabonga Sangweni – South Africa
Never has a nation been more thankful for a goal-scoring defender than the Rainbow Nation are for Sangweni. The Orlando Pirates defender has scored some important goals for Bafana Bafana, including the late equaliser against Morocco, which saved the hosts from an embarrassing early exit. Though a defensive effort will now be needed against Seydou Keita’s Mali, Sangweni’s match-turning goals may prove to be a decisive factor in what will be a close game.
Fernando Varela – Cape Verde
Cape Verde have defied expectations, showing a surprising defensive resilience which enabled them to escape Group A ahead of the more illustrious names of Morocco and Angola. And at the heart of these performance was the clinical Varela, who cut out numerous chances to spoil the hosts’ opening night has remained consistent ever since. He capped off his run of performances with a vital goal against Angola, but another great performance will be needed if the Creoles are to topple Ghana.
Asamoah Gyan – Ghana
After two solid but unspectacular performances in Group B, Ghana suddenly burst into life against a hapless Niger in their final group match courtesy of a virtuoso Gyan performance. The former Sunderland man pulled all the strings that afternoon, rising to the challenge of captaincy by getting on the score sheet and providing an assist. Having improved vastly since the opening DR Congo match, Ghana will need this new Gyan to turn up again to avoid a slip-up against tricky prospects Cape Verde.
Seydou Keita – Mali
No nation wants to be labelled as a one-man team, but unfortunately for Mali the continued imperious performances of Keita could see this happen. The former Barcelona star has been everywhere for the Eagles, dropping back, creating opportunities, taking free kicks and attempting chances of his own. And it was Keita who provided the goal in Mali’s dour opener against Niger, giving them the vital three points – his nation may wish for similar rescue acts against hosts South Africa.
Alain Traore – Burkina Faso
Burkina Faso went into Group C branded the underdogs, yet thanks in no small part to the goals of Traore, find themselves in the quarter-finals. Linking up expertly with tricky winger Jonathan Pitroipa, Traore’s free-scoring form has given the Stallions the cutting edge required to dump defending champions Zambia out. Yet following an injury, the Burkinabe find themselves without the tournament top-scorer – up against fellow surprise package Togo next, they need to find goals again, and quickly.
Victor Moses – Nigeria
The Super Eagles have blown hot and cold throughout this tournament, as is their custom as Africa’s most frustrating yet talented side. But a bright spot among the gloom has been Moses – the Chelsea forward’s industry dug the Nigerians out a hole against Ethiopia, earning and scoring two penalties. However, with tournament favourites Ivory Coast up next and a haphazard defence not guaranteeing solidity, Nigeria will need Moses to keep his work-rate going.
Yaya Touré – Ivory Coast
It takes a very special talent to stand out in the Ivory Coast’s ‘Golden Generation,’ but Manchester City’s Touré has filled the criteria superbly. The two-time African Footballer of the Year lived up to his lofty title by causing Group C defences plenty of problems with rampaging runs from deep. Emphasising his quality with a superb goal in the 3-0 rout of Tunisia, the powerhouse midfielder will have plenty of opportunities against a chaotic Nigerian defence in the quarter-finals.
Emmanuel Adebayor –Togo
Cameras follow Emmanuel Adebayor wherever he goes, so perhaps it’s only natural that the live wire striker has managed to catch the eye. Playing in his first Afcon since the Cabinda tragedy and supplied by a conveyer-belt of able forwards, Adebayor has been crucial to all of Togo’s good work. And having taken turns as scorer and provider for the Sparrow Hawks, Spurs’ mercurial forward will now be set the formidable task of breaching the Burkinabe defence – the tournament’s meanest.◀ The Sport Review homepageNext story ►
Join us on Facebook
Read more on...
Redknapp: Van Gaal needs to prove he is a genius & sort Man Utd defence2 mins ago Football
Video: Man City’s Yaya Touré gives Chelsea’s Eden Hazard clip round ear!16 mins ago Football
Photos: John Terry and Eden Hazard reflect on Chelsea’s draw at Man City37 mins ago Football
Transfer round-up: Arsenal agree £11m Khedira deal, Liverpool want Hart45 mins ago Football
Photo: Chelsea’s André Schürrle thanks Eden Hazard for ‘amazing assist’9 hours ago Football
Photo: West Ham defender poses with Russell Brand after Liverpool win12 hours ago Football
Photo: Pablo Zabaleta can’t believe Chelsea’s Diego Costa didn’t see red13 hours ago Football
Man City 1 Chelsea 1: Player ratings as James Milner impresses14 hours ago Football
Man City 1 Chelsea 1: Four talking points as Frank Lampard strikes14 hours ago Football
Soft-centred Man Utd must be more competitive, says Gary Neville14 hours ago Football
Louis van Gaal: Man Utd aren’t defensively weak but lack organisation14 hours ago Football
Luis, Lineker and more: Twitter reacts as Man City hold Chelsea15 hours ago Football
Man City 1 Chelsea 1: Lampard love story over, declares Mourinho15 hours ago Football
Man City 1 Chelsea 1: Frank Lampard ‘lost for words’ after leveller15 hours ago Football
Photo: Mesut Özil thanks Arsenal fans for their support15 hours ago Football
Sturridge & more: Twitter reacts as Lampard scores AGAINST Chelsea15 hours ago Football
Leicester 5 Man Utd 3: We gave the game away, blasts Louis van Gaal17 hours ago Football
Ian Wright: Arsenal’s point at Leicester doesn’t look bad now!17 hours ago Football
Neville, Robson & more: Twitter reacts as Leicester stun Man Utd17 hours ago Football
Photos: Di Maria & Falcao can’t prevent Man Utd losing at Leicester18 hours ago Football