Eagles retire Drogba•As Nigeria faces Mali in s/final

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By KUNLE SOLAJA, Rustenburg

Warri Wolves’ player, Sunday Mba, became an instant hero yesterday at the on going Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa when he scored the winner in a 2-1 victory for the Eagles over Cote d’Ivoire to qualify for the semi final . A 78th minute solo effort was all Mba needed to kill the Elephants and write his name in the history books of the competition. The victory has ended the Golden Generation of the Cote d’Ivoire as she was usurped by Stephen Keshi’s plucky Super Eagles at the King Bafokeng Stadium.

Nigeria took the lead against the lethargic Elephants through a wonderful Emmanuel Emenike’s strike in the 43rd minute, before Cheik Tiote equalised with a header just after the interval. In an engrossing second half, Sunday Mba wrote his name in Naija folklore by finishing a hopeful run with a deflected finish past Boubacar Barry. For the first half of action it seemed as if the Super Eagles had turned back the hands of clock and rolled back the years. Gone was the timidity and the nervousness that had characterised their dull group encounters, the side looked bold and brave. In comparison, the Ivorians, so well-fancied before the tournament, looked laborious and lethargic – their casual approach matching the unprofessional nicknames on some of their shirts.

It felt like 1994 as the Super Eagles burst forward, Victor Moses, the nation’s saviour against Ethiopia, was once again influential – his tenacious running and ferocious speed constantly causing problems for the Ivorian defenders. Emmanuel Emenike was also looking to capture the form of the opening 45 minutes against Burkina Faso, although the striker fired over from near point-blank range in the first half. With the interval approaching, Nigerian enterprise eventually paid off. Soon after Yaya Toure had been forced into a shoulder block to curtail Moses’s advance, the Super Eagles won a free kick 30 yards out. John Obi Mikel laid the ball off, and Emenike, with the weight of 19 years of anguish behind him, fired the ball over the wall into the goal.

Perhaps Copa Barry in the Ivorian net should have done better, but few in Nigeria cared, as the finish sparking furious celebration among their massed ranks. The euphoria of the first half was not to last into the second. Moments after Salomon Kalou had been cautioned for simulation in the Nigerian box, Didier Drogba was brought to ground by Efe Ambrose. It was the Super Eagles’ moment to look inert, and they were promptly punished as Cheick Tiote headed the ball past Enyeama. The keeper promptly remonstrated with his static defence, but the damage had been done. The second half unrolled with both sides looking to attack, and creating a number of opportunities. Elderson went close with a blocked shot when Moses was perhaps better placed.

The miss threatened to be costly, that was, until Sunday Mba decided to introduce himself into the game’s narrative. Running boldly at the Ivorian defence, the striker, included at the expense of the likes of Peter Odemwingie and Obafemi Martins, sent a deflected shot up and over Boubacar Barry. It prompted ecstatic scenes in Rustenburg, as Stephen Keshi’s men played out a nervy final 10 minutes as the Ivorians pushed. John Obi Mikel must get a mention for a terrific tackle on Traore, but the whole team will be heralded as heroes after a glorious victory and well-deserved progression. They now face Mali in the semi-final on Wednesday.

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81 Comments

  1. Congratulations to the Eagles!!! More grease to your elbows as we all await your return with the AFCON cup. God bless the Eagles!!! God bless Nigeria!!!

  2. It was a well deserved Victory for the Super eagle, it was highly disgusting to read what Eboue wrote against this Super EAGLE, now he should be eating grass. Kudos to Keshi’s boys, i hope they will go in the strenght of this victory to beat a fastidious Mali.

  3. His excellency, Dr Orji Kalu must be a witch. How can he predict that Eagles will win the elephants and we won indeed? I respect you oooooooo

    Words of elders are words of wisdom. PILLAR OF SPORT INDEED

  4. Oh! God is a Nigerian! Those that wrote off what local players in Nigeria can do with the leather game will eschew their bitterness now, names does not play football any more. Steven Keshi has showed to Africans that he really learnt enough from his former boss Clemence Westerhof. Emmanuel Amuneke was discovered from local games in Nigeria at Ajegunle world cup by then coach, we all witnessed what that young lad recorded in the Nigeria squad that paraded the likes of Rashidi Yekini of blessed memory. Had it been that Odewinge was fielded in this game with pride he shouldn’t,t have performed such solo effort to rattle Ivorian team because of personal ego, stupid. Today Mba has become a house hold name in Nigeria,s sports arena.

  5. Congratulations to the unbeatable Eagles. Nigerians are strongly behind you guys in prayers. The finals has been played today, nothing else will stop the cup from coming to Nigeria. I am proud to be a Nigerian today. God bless Nigeria God be with Eagles.

  6. Congratulations! This is a job well done.i am so happy for the result of this last game.we will continue to pray for you.continue to shine we are behind you.congatulations Nigeria.

  7. the secret behind the eagles success was because they were promised one week of free sex by our professional prostitutes,because all this time they were made promises of match bonus they use to fuck up,this same promise were made to zambians and they lift the trophy.

  8. Congratulation Eagles you make Nigerians proud , were is Late Ebue that fool that call him self player. Long live Nigeria God don already bless us na make our leaders nor go kill Nigeria before her time

  9. my humble self on

    Congratulations to the super eagles. On the other side, this report is the same as what I read on goal.com copying another’s work without acknowledgement—is that not plagiarism?

    • Tell them my brother. Plagiarism is an academic crime o Sun news. If you copy another man’s work acknowledge the source of what you copy. How can a major newspaper like Sun not know such an elementary writing standard ?

    • i just read exactly the same piece on the guardian and i hear its the same piece on goal.com..some journalists are jut plain lazy. At least edit it a bit or give credit to the originator of the write up..Na wa oo

      • A little education here will do: When you are subscribed to a particular agency, you have a right to use the material unedited, if you so want. And this is especially so when you do not have your own writers/reporters on ground for the event. This includes photograph usage too. It is part of cost saving. That is why you have press agencies all over the world. Perhaps the only error here could be the attribution. Thank you.

  10. I am sorry 4 fellow Nigerians who never believed in the team led by keshi, from the outset of the Afcon I have the premonition that the Eagle is going make it to the final. Up Keshi, up Eagle.And I am also sending a very big shame to Emmanuel Eboue waits his tweet.

  11. @ike okija, shut it with ur free sex, which type of lady in Nigeria any of the players cannot afford to… plz talk something meaningful

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  13. YOU GUYS MAKES ME PROUD , AND AM SO HAPPY ! KEEP IT UP TO BRING THE GLORY OF FOOTBAL NATION BACK TO NAIJA , AM PROUD TO BE A NIGERIAN .

  14. Wow,i used 2 say it dat “out of every NONSENSE,dir is SENSE. D super eagles av made us proud.U GUYS ARE AWESOME.KIP IT UP.

  15. I WAS PROVED WRONG AS D EAGLES WON THEREFORE I WISH TO SAY TO THEM CONGRATS Ooooooooooooo. UP SUPER…………………………………BUT WATCH OUT

  16. Congratulation super eaglrs, I salute okocha and kanu who went to cheer them up and I am also using this opportunity to inform keshi not to relax until we have the trophy in 9ja.

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  18. A more focused game, eagles took control of their fate. it was a delight to watch and one could almost sense the triumph right from the beginning. Congrats.

  19. Our appreciation goes to God the father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost. He will favour us the more in Jesus. I wrote it in my comment on Thursday ” With God all things are possible” Lets continue to pray for our football ambassadors. At least their is relative peace in the country at moment. Even as the boko harams have no time for attack at the moment. I wish Khesi and his team the best of luck against Mali.

  20. Nobody knows who is who in a soccer pitch both local and international players using the same leg to play as a local player put smile into our lips.

  21. I will want to sincerely congratulate the super eagles nd the entire citizens of nigeria for a wel deserved victory against the elephant of Ivory Coast. nevertheless, they the super eagles should not relax on their oas let them go for the trophy. up eagles, up nigeria.

  22. Oliveth London on

    I told my colleagues here in London that eagles fly when u look down on them Congrat super eagles my advice is this don’t be carried away bcos of this victory now the game starts

  23. Congratulations Super Eagles . Congratulations Keshi and your coaching crew. The best is yet to come so long as you continue to be humble and focused. More grease to your elbow.

  24. I humbly and most sincerely congratulate all Nigerians at home and in the diaspora especially our boys(Super Eagles) for proving our critics wrong. By God’s special grace, the cup is ours. Once again, congrats!

  25. Pwaniyeboh Ezra Dagel on

    Congrats Nigeria on ur VICTORY, More grace to ur elbow, De LORD is ur Strenght as u Face Mali in Semi Finals

  26. I DO NOT HAVE ANYTHING TO SAY THAN TO ENCOURAGE NIGERIANS TO LEARN HOW TO SUPPORT OUR TEAM IN ALL CIRCUMSTANCE. I SAID IT BEFORE THAT THIS TEAM WILL SURPRISE ALL OF US AND IT HAS HAPPENED. I LIVE IN ABIDJAN IVORY COAST AND WE NIGERIANS LIVING IN IVORY COAST CAN HENCEFORTH PROUDLY DISCUSS FOOTBALL WHERE IVORIANS ARE DISCUSSING FOOTBALL. THEY NEVER ALLOW US TO TALK ANYTHING ABOUT FOOTBALL BECAUSE THEY HAVE WRITTEN US OFF THE GAME. BUT SINCE YESTERDAY THEY HAS BEGIN TO SEE US AS GOD AS WE HAVE RECOVERED OUR LOST GLORY. SHAME TO EBOUE AND HIS LIKES. GOD BLESS 9JA

  27. Congratulations Super Eagle, congratulation Nigeria, we are praying for your succuss against Mali. GOD ALMIGHTY will continue to be with you through the period of the Match in Jesus Name, Amen.

  28. It takes the likes of football legends like kanu and Okocha who were present in the stadium to reassure the boys to play with lions heart.It takes boldness to win matches.Congrats super eagles.

  29. Never believed what i saw. Just like the majority of other Nigerian fans, i least expected the match to end in favour of the SUPER Eagles. Really elated by the outcome. May God help us to go tru it all to bring the trophy home. IJN

  30. I said it that it is on the field that winners emerge and not by words of mouth.
    The mouthy Ivorians had eaten their vomit.
    Congratulations!!!!!! Super Eagles.

  31. I THANK GOD FOR HIS MERCY AND GRACE UPON OUR DEAR COUNTRY, UP UP SUPER EAGLES THANK YOU ALL FOR YOUR EFFORT TO MAKE NIGERIANS PROUD ALL OVER THE WORLD.

  32. Each time we have more of the Nigerian Jewish players( Igbo’s) in the football pitch,u will surely see victory in all we do but when it is infiltrated with all these normads ( Abokis), we only struggle to loose. Thanks to God of Biafran whom through His positive influence on Igbos, will always see us through. Super Eagles, i wish u best of lucks and More Power to ur elbows

  33. jolayemi kunle on

    @ celeco, we will soon deport u to a neighbouring state(Boko haram hide out) with ur poor sense of reasoning.
    The Eagle DISSAPPOINTED all of us. thanks to Keshi and his team.

  34. We must not relax our efforts to prepare for the next game. My aim is for us to win the cup, and with God on our side, the cup is coming to Nigeria. Nigerians, please put your hands together in support and prayers for the Super Eagles. All eyes are watching us to perform excellently in realizing the goal of bringing the cup to this great Nation called Nigeria. We shall ever be proud of the success.

  35. Alhaji Dan-azumi Gana on

    Congratulations Nigerians, Super Eagles have done it again and I believe they will do it in their subsequent semi final and final encounters.

  36. This victory was achieved because every Nigerian accepted our weakness and humbled our self before God who looked down on us and showed us mercy. Glory be to his holy name.

  37. let me start by saying to God be the Glory for the sweet victory he (God) gave naija over ivory coast. i will also commend d team for there determination towards d match. pls keep the tempo if not more till you guys bring d cup down to naija. we are solidly behind you. up eagles! up naija!!

  38. Fellow Nigerian’s u have just forgotten the nigerian prostitute association promises in the FTC Abuja if supper eagle win this match there is going to be free sex.

    We should go to have free sex to commemorate this glorious win.———ohoooooooooo.

  39. HENRY EZENWEAKU on

    discipline is the bedrock of responsibility, meekness/humility is the gateway to greatness, Nigerians should not Glory yet until God blows the final whistle.

  40. Emeka Amandianeze on

    Nigerians are proud of super eagles for this well deserved victory. We need the cup and by Gods grace we’ll have it home. Congrats in advance.

  41. Celeco, stop your dirty mouth. Does only Ibos are playing the game? Nigerians are happy for the outcome of the match and u were trying to trigger online logger head. Think properly and positively.

  42. Keshi’s confidence on local prayers should be encouraged.He should look for more mba’s, even on the streets of agegunle/ onitsha/jos etc. Go for gold boys.

  43. Congrats on IGBO SUPER EAGLES as the nicknamed them, IGBO’S are not good in NIGERIA…but GOD has the final say….Nonsense…

  44. BRO. CHRIS NKEM on

    With GOD, DETERMINATIO and COMMITMENT, all things are possible. Back home, all Nigerians need to do is to pray for them to be focused throughout the 90 minutes regulation time, if they observe the above mentioned points, the CUP is surely ours.Two, Keshi should not disorganise the winning team. May the good GOD see them through with the CUP Amen.

  45. only thing that gave Nigerian’s joy is football
    i love the spirit, i wish the eaglet best ahead of tomorrows match

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