Africa Cup of Nations 2013: Stephen Keshi leads Nigeria to third title
Africa Cup of Nations 2013: Stephen Keshi leads Nigeria to third title with a 1-0 victory over Burkina Faso
Chelsea star Victor Moses shrugged off injury to inspire Nigeria to their first Africa Cup of Nations triumph since 1994 with victory over Burkina Faso.
Sunday Mba broke the deadlock just before the break and the Super Eagles held on to ensure that coach Stephen Keshi could lift the trophy, 19 years after first achieving it as captain.
The men in green started brightly as Efe Ambrose cross-cum-shot went straight into the welcoming arms of Daouda Diakite.
Ambrose came close to breaking the deadlock minutes later, but the Nigeria defender was unable to head Blues winger Moses’ free-kick on target.
Diakite almost gifted Nigeria an opening goal 10 minutes in, when he dropped the ball at the feet of Brown Ideye, but the Dynamo Kiev forward blazed over.
Moses, recovering from an ankle injury, was lively early on and his testing cross was held at the second attempt by Diakite as Nigeria looked the more likely to score.
Aristide Bance was the first to try his luck for the Stallions, but his 20-yard effort flew comfortably over the top of Super Eagles’ captain Vincent Enyeama’s goal.
Just after the half-hour mark Florent Rouamba became the first player to test the patience of referee Djamel Haimoudi, as he saw yellow for a late challenge on Moses.
Nigeria did break through six minutes before the half, when Mba cleverly flicked the ball past one defender before poking home, leaving Diakite stranded.
The goal ignited Burkina Faso as Bance fired over from distance but the Super Eagles stood firm to lead at half-time.
Stephen Keshi’s side flew out of the traps in the second half, as Ideye forced Diakite to save low at his near post after brilliant build-up play from Moses.
Ikechukwu Uche, in for injured front-man Emmanuel Emenike, made way for Ahmed Musa seven minutes after the break as the Nigerians tried to freshen up their attack.
The Super Eagles caught Burkina Faso napping moments later as Moses sprinted clear, but the Chelsea star opted to shoot instead of pass and was crowded out.
Another Blue, John Obi Mikel, went into the book just shy of the hour mark for dissent, before Bance headed straight at Enyeama.
Substitute Wilfried Sanou came close to levelling the scores on 71 minutes, only to be denied by a stunning one handed stop from the Nigerian stopper.
Musa opened up the Stallion defence on the right flank with five minutes to go but Ideye was unable to apply the finishing touch.
Former Everton defender Joseph Yobo replaced goal scorer Mba late on and Nigeria held on to lift the trophy for a third time.