2013 Africa Cup of Nations Finals – Wednesday 30 January 2013

AFCONaltGroup C:

Burkina Faso (0) 0 – 0 (0) Zambia

Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit

The 2012 AFCON Champions Zambia’s reign came to an end with a whimper rather than a bang. The Chipolopolo knew going into the game that only a victory would guarantee their passage into the Quarter-Finals. However, on the Nelspruit pitch that looked to be more sand than grass, Zambia could only draw 0-0. The draw would have been enough, if Nigeria had the same result against Ethiopia. In truth, Zambia created very few chances and even once news filtered through from Rustenburg that Nigeria were ahead, there seemed little urgency from the AFCON holders. Burkina Faso secured top spot with the draw, but their biggest worry is the injury to Alain Traore, who left the field on a stretcher in the opening quarter of the game. A disappointing exit for Zambia, but a fantastic achievement by Burkina Faso, putting behind them the disastrous 2012 Finals performance when they lost all three Group games.


Ethiopia (0) 0 – 2 (0) Nigeria

Royal Bafokeng Stadium, Rustenburg

In the end Nigeria came through to win the game and so clinch a place in the Quarter-Finals. However, with eleven minutes remaining the prospect of exiting the tournament by virtue of a worse disciplinary record than Zambia was a distinct possibility. Nigeria started the game well, but when they didn’t score, the nervousness of their fans seemed to translate to the players and Ethiopia came into the game. However, the Ethiopians were in long-ball mode and Nigeria easily dealt with the threat. Nigeria continued to dominate possession in the second-half, but it wasn’t until the seventy ninth minute that the breakthrough came. Alula Girma brought down Victor Moses and the Chelsea man got up to calmly score from the spot. Victory was confirmed on ninety minutes Moses was again the man who caused all the danger, when Ethiopia keeper brought him down and was subsequently dismissed. With the Ethiopians having used all their substitutes, midfielder Addis Hintsa donned the gloves to face the penalty. Moses again scored and The Super Eagles were on their way to the knock-out stage.



(1) Nigeria, (2) Zambia, (3) Ethiopia, (4) Burkina Faso


Final Standings:

(1) Burkina Faso, (2) Nigeria, (3) Zambia, (4) Ethiopia


Group D:

Algeria v Ivory Coast – Royal Bafokeng Stadium, Rustenburg

Togo v Tunisia – Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit

With Ivory Coast already through, the attention in these final Group games falls on the Togo v Tunisia fixture. A draw would be enough for Togo to go through, whilst Tunisia have to win to ensure progress. Ivory Coast should see off Algeria to finish with a 100% record, and are likely to be joined by Togo who will beat Tunisia.

2013 Africa Cup of Nations Finals – Saturday 26 January 2013

2013ACNGroup C: Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit

Zambia (0) 1 – 1 (0) Nigeria

As in the first round of games at the Mbombela Stadium, the pitch did not look in great condition. However, this was a game that will be remembered as the story of two penalties – one missed and one scored – and not the dry uneven and hard surface in Nelspruit. The first penalty was awarded on twenty five minutes, when Zambia defender Davies Nkausu fouled Ahmed Musa. It was a blatant penalty and the challenge was reckless; symptomatic of some very poor tackling witnessed in the 2013 AFCON tournament so far. The Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel stepped up, but his effort clipped the post and went wide. However, Mikel redeemed himself on fifty seven minutes when he out-muscled the Zambian midfield to provide a through ball for Emmanuel Emenike. The Spartak Moscow striker cut inside the defender and finished excellently into the bottom left corner. With the game entering the last five minutes, the second penalty of the day was awarded. This though in contrast to the one for Nigeria was controversial, as Ogenyi Onazi appeared to make little contact with the Southampton striker Emmanuel Mayuka. Stepping up to take the spot-kick was Zambian keeper Kennedy Mweene who coolly levelled the game, showing many an outfield player how a penalty should be taken. Both teams can still go through, but to be certain Zambia and Nigeria would need to win their remaining respective group games.


Burkina Faso (1) 4 – 0 (0) Ethiopia

A resounding victory for Burkina Faso as The Stallions went to the top of Group C and achieved it with ten men. However, games can turn on a single incident. In the case of Ethiopia they will look to the chance they created in the opening five minutes, when Shimelese Bekele slotted past Burkina Faso keeper Soulama only to see his shot come back off the post. On twenty minutes The Stallions had the ball in the Ethiopian net from Wilfried Sanou, but was ruled offside. However, on thirty four minutes Burkina Faso did go ahead when unmarked Alain Traoré collected in the box and superbly fired home on the half-volley. Burkina Faso held this lead into the break before what was to be a very interesting second-half. On the hour, from a long ball through, The Stallions keeper Soulama handled outside the area and was sent-off. Ethiopia were unable to make their numerical advantage tell and instead Burkina Faso increased their lead on seventy four minutes when Alain Traoré unleashed a left footed screamer from outside the box which flew past Tadelle in the Ethiopian goal. The Stallions were now rampant and on seventy nine minutes, Ethiopia lost possession in midfield and Pitroipa played in Djakaridja Kone who slid it past the advancing Tadelle. As the game went into time added-on, Burkina Faso grabbed a fourth goal as they broke on the right against a shell-shocked Ethiopian defence, and Pitroipa was able to easily finish unchallenged just outside the six yard box. Top spot for The Stallions and a Quarter-Final place in touching distance.


Group D: Royal Bafokeng Stadium, Rustenburg

Ivory Coast v Tunisia/Algeria v Togo

The last of the second round of Group games, which first up, sees Ivory Coast against Tunisia, both of whom won their opening fixtures. A victory later today for either team would guarantee a place in the Quarter-Finals. Ivory Coast are the competition favourites and will hope to seal their place with a game to spare, although Tunisia have to be watched having shocked their North African neighbours Algeria in the opening round of games. Togo will feel they were unlucky to lose late on against Ivory Coast and will look to get points on the board against Algeria.

2013 Africa Cup of Nations Finals – Monday 21 January 2013

Group B: Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth.

Ghana (1) 2 – 2 (0) 2 Congo DR

The first goals of the 2013 AFCON tournament duly arrived, but also perhaps unexpectedly resulted in another drawn game. Congo DR were not overawed by the stars or reputation of the Ghana side and had the first real chance of the game on twelve minutes. Lomana Tresor LuaLua smashed the ball goal-ward, but Ghanaian keeper Fatau Dauda managed to tip the effort onto the bar. This game was shaping up as a much more open affair than yesterday’s Group A encounters, with play going from end-to-end. One such break saw Asamoah Gyan put through on goal, but his finish was wastefully wide. However, with five minutes remaining before half-time, Ghana went ahead. In a lovely one-to-one move, Kwadwo Asamoah swapped passes before crossing for Ageymang-Badu who beat the defender to it, to finish and give The Black Stars a 1-0 half-time advantage. Ghana started the second-half brightly and on fifty minutes poor marking from a corner allowed Kwadwo Asamoah to make it 2-0. The Leopards though did not panic and on fifty three minutes had got a goal back. A lovely through ball from Cedric Makiadi found Mputu, who finished beautifully. Congo continued to press and on sixty eight minutes were awarded a penalty after Jerry Akaminko pulled Mobokini down by the shirt. Mobokini got up to take the penalty and sent the keeper the wrong way to complete the comeback and level the game at 2-2. With just over twenty minutes remaining, the game continued to ebb and flow with both sides having opportunities to win it. Ghana had two excellent chances but Congo keeper Kidiaba saved well from Gyan and then did well to readjust his position and push a free-kick over the bar. Not to be outdone, The Black Stars keeper Duada saved well from an effort by Youssouf Mulumbu. At the whistle it was a point each for the teams and at last a game that got those watching, on their feet.


Mali (0) 1 – (0) Niger

After the excitement of the early game, this encounter will be remembered as one which at times was very physical and for goalkeeping that was of a variable quality to say the least. In the first-half, Niger keeper Kassaly Daouda and Mali keeper Mamadou Samassa had looked less than convincing at dealing with crosses and corners. However, the underdogs Niger had the best opportunity of the opening forty five minutes, when Kofi Dankwa saw his shot well saved by Mali keeper Mamadou Samassa. With the teams going in at half-time at 0-0, the fear for anybody watching was that another goalless encounter was on the cards at the start of the 2013 AFCON tournament. However, the second-half did improve with Mali midfielder Seydou Keita becoming more influential as Mali looked for a winner. With six minutes remaining the breakthrough came when Niger keeper Daouda left his line to gather a cross but only succeeded in dropping it for Keita to gratefully strike home. Mali just about deserved it and secured the first win of the competition, in a game that was by no means a classic.


Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit

Group C: Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit

Zambia v Ethiopia

The current AFCON Champions Zambia (Chipolopolo – The Copper Bullets) start the defence of their title today against Ethiopia. However, it not been an easy year for Zambia and their form coming into the tournament has been poor. They nearly didn’t make it to South Africa at all, as they only got through the qualifying round on penalties against Uganda after drawing 1-1 on aggregate. However, Zambia will point to the fact that no one fancied their chances in 2012, so are probably happy that this is the case again. Ethiopia (The Walya Antelopes) came through on away goals in both their qualifying rounds. They first saw off Benin (1-1 on aggregate) and then Sudan (5-5 on aggregate). Against Sudan, Ethiopia lost the 1st leg 5-3 but two second-half goals in the 2nd leg saw them qualify for South Africa. In their warm-up games, Ethiopia drew with Tunisia 1-1 and beat Tanzania 2-1. Ethiopia like Niger are rank outsiders for the tournament, so expect Zambia to sneak this one in a tight encounter.


Nigeria v Burkina Faso

Nigeria (The Super Eagles) returns to the AFCON Finals after missing out on the 2012 tournament. They qualified after beating Rwanda 2-0 on aggregate and then Liberia. The Super Eagles only drew 2-2 in Paynesville, but a 6-1 victory in Calabar delivered an emphatic 8-3 aggregate win. In their last outing Nigeria drew 0-0 with Cape Verde. However, they are one of the “big” names in African football and should overcome underdogs Burkina Faso. Les Etalons (The Stallions) qualified after beating the Central African Republic 3-2 on aggregate. They played in both the 2010 and 2012 Finals, but did not secure a win in either tournament. In their warm-up fixtures, The Stallions drew 0-0 with Niger and beat Swaziland 3-0. Despite these results it will probably be another unsuccessful and winless Group exit for the West African side.


Prediction: (1) Nigeria, (2) Zambia, (3) Ethiopia, (4) Burkina Faso