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February 7, 2013
Star Sport


Nigeria, Burkina Faso book spot in ACN final

Nigeria's Ogenyi Onazi (left) Brown Ideye (centre) and Emmanuel Emenike celebrate scoring against Mali, as John Obi Mikel (top) looks on during their African Cup of Nations semi-final. - ap

DURBAN, South Africa (AP):

Nigeria cruised to a 4-1 win over Mali yesterday to reach the African Cup final for the first time in more than a decade.

Nigeria dominated from the start and scored three first-half goals to quickly end Mali's hopes of lifting the trophy, and bringing joy to the fans enduring political instability and conflicts back home.

Elderson Echiejile opened the scoring in the 25th minute, Brown Ideye extended the lead after a breakaway in the 30th and Emmanuel Emenike netted from a free kick in the 44th.

Substitute Ahmed Musa added the fourth in the 60th and Cheick Diarra scored Mali's consolation goal in the 75th.

Nigeria dominated African football throughout the 1990s but haven't been successful since. Now bidding to win the title for the third time, and first since 1994, they have not reached the final since 2000.

Mali, with captain Seydou Keita ineffective through most of the match, were trying to reach the final for the first time in more than 30 years. They had also been eliminated in the semis in last year's tournament.

Burkina Faso beat Ghana on penalties to reach their first African Cup final in a stunning upset, coming from behind to draw 1-1 after 120 minutes and then sending the four-time champions crashing out 4-2 in the shoot-out.

Three Ghanaians missed their spot kicks, with Burkina Faso goalkeeper Daouda Diakite pulling off the decisive save from Emmanuel Agyemang Badu to send the underdogs through to Sunday's final against Nigeria at Soccer City.

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