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Africa Cup of Nations: Nigeria 1 Burkina Faso 0

Nigeria made Africa Cup of Nations history by beating Burkina Faso 1-0 in Johannesburg to claim the nation’s third continental crown.

Sunday Mba’s goal five minutes before half-time was enough to seal victory against the Stallions.

Nigeria, playing in their first final since 2000, started brightly against a Burkina Faso side who looked nervous and at times overawed by the occasion.

Victor Moses, a player who has begun to emerge as a genuine international star during this competition, looked keen to profit from any unease among the opposition. He appeared everywhere, troubling both full-backs with his pace and touch.

Efe Ambrose and Ideye Brown demonstrated their aerial prowess early, but despite the fumbling of Daouda Diakite in the Burkina Faso goal, neither could capitalise. As the first half wore on, the Stallions struggled to impose themselves with Aristide Bance – one of the semi-final heroes – twice shooting from distance, although both of his efforts were wayward.

With the game threatening to become congested in the midfield, and Burkina still struggling to settle, Nigeria struck first.

Moses forged some space for himself, and indirectly provided an opportunity for Mba – the slayer of Ivory Coast – to fire the Eagles ahead.

It was further vindication of Nigeria coach Keshi’s domestic-based selection policy, the manager becoming only the second man in history to win the cup as both a player and a coach.

Burkina Faso failed to find their rhythm throughout the contest. While few would have begrudged them a place in the final, perhaps the occasion was too big as the side appeared to lack self-belief, and rarely convinced.

They began taking risks late in the match, but only looked menacing on rare occasions. One chance, a terrific shot by substitute Sanou, demanded a stunning save from Enyeama to preserve Nigeria’s lead.

The Eagles also carved out several chances to end things, but Moses and Brown conspired to waste these promising situations.

Burkina Faso had one final chance to level but substitute Moumouni Dagano fired over the bar from a free-kick in stoppage time.

Sun 10 February, 2013
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