African Cup of Nations Final Text Commentary

WE’RE AWAY!

Peep, peep: It’s 22 degrees, it’s live and it’s the African Cup of Nations final! Nigeria kick off: Goliath v David, top dog v underdog.

1 min: Ambrose flashes a shot at goal from the right wing, an insouciant flick from distance just for the hell of it. Might have been better crossing there.

3 min: Kone attempts to skip through the Nigeria midfield. He doesn’t get far and so Onazi smacks it out wide for Echiejile to run onto on the left wing. The ball goes into touch.

4 min: A long ball from Burkina Faso leads to a slight chance. Kabore finds himself with the ball in the middle, a fair way out. He shoots but blazes over.

6 min: Echiejile looks for Uche in the middle of the box. Burkina Faso clear for a corner. Diakite comes out and punches well to clear.

7 min: Ideye takes an outrageous dive in the middle of the pitch, claiming Rouamba flattned him. He didn’t, the referee bought that hook, line and sinker though. From the free-kick, Ambrose is in acres in the penalty area but heads over the bar. Should have done better.

8 min: Nakoulma clips Omeruo’s heels as he attempts to get onto a long ball into the box. It’s a shame he does as he would have been in otherwise.

10 min: Panandetiguiri, whose name I’m not going to enjoy typing tonight, switches off. He thought the ball had gone into touch but instead Moses nipped round behind him and crossed. Corner. Next, there’s a massive let off for Burkina Faso. Diakite came out to claim but failed to get onto the ball and Brown Ideye should really have scored.

12 min: Ambrose flicks the ball through the Burkina Faso back line but Uche had mistimed his run – he was a yard or two offside but completely in the clear. Nearly a good chance there.

13 min: Onazi and Nakoulma clash in the centre of the pitch with the Nigeria man coming off worse. He’s on the floor clutching his head. But not for long – this is the Africa Cup of Nations final! He’s not going to spend long rolling about on the pitch, this match is too important.

16 min: Pitroipa flashes a lovely ball into the box with Bance onside and ready to run onto it. The ball clips off a Nigeria defender’s foot and behind for a corner though. Nothing comes from the set-piece.

18 min: Mikel fires a pass at Ideye, lurking on the edge of the box. He can’t control the pass though, which was excellent from the Chelsea man. The ball bobbled a little on the sandy surface here.

19 min: Koulibaly attempts a back heel while under pressure and defending just outside the Burkina Faso box. It’s exactly the sort of the thing that makes watching African football so entertaining – mindless showboating for no good reason. It nearly allows Ideye in. A moment later Moses thumps another good cross into the area from the left wing. He’s looked lively so far.

22 min: A period of loose passing from both sides. First Kone gives the ball away for no good reason, then Onazi passes to nobody from the Nigerian midfield. Nigeria have been the brighter so far, Burkina Faso looking nervy.

24 min: Bance controls a long ball on his chest, turns then pulls the trigger. He thumps the thing into next week, several miles over the bar.

25 min: An excellent ball defence pings the length of the pitch and into the corner flag. Panandetiguiri sprints down the line to get onto it. His control lets him down at the last though and he concedes a goal kick.

27 min: Nakoulma is fouled in the centre of the pitch, clipped about 45 yards out. There’s no doubt in Bance’s mind. He’s lining up the shot.

28 min: Rather than blast a screamer, he sends a skimmer across the deck. Think he slightly miskicked it and the ball hammers into the hoardings.

28 min: Nice play from Kabore to dink the ball over the top and into the Nigeria penalty area. Enyeama comes out to claim but it’s a sign Burkina Faso are settling.

30 min: Mba finds Uche on the edge of the area. He turns sharply and wriggles a ball through the Burkina Faso lines. There’s just too much on it though, his touch too heavy and Ideye isn’t quick enough to latch onto it and shoot.

31 min: Omeruo passes the ball directly into touch and his partner at centre back doesn’t approve. If looks could kill, Omeruo would be stone, cold dead.

32 min: Burkina Faso are getting some joy down their left wing here, hoping to make use of the space Nigeria are leaving there. Meanwhile, Rouamba gets a yellow for a robust challenge in midfield.

38 min: Kabore clips the ball forwards, Omeruo heads the ball back. That’s the extent of the action in the last few minutes. But wait, what’s this? It’s Onazi standing on a Burkinabe foot. He gets a yellow and Burkina Faso get the chance to launch the ball into the box. Bakary Kone gets onto it but heads down, out and behind the goal. Should have headed that back across.

GOAL! Nigeria 1-0 Burkina Faso (Mba, 39 min)

Moses and Uche were diddling around with the ball in the box, but it broke to Mba and he lashed it into the bottom right corner having flicked the ball up off one foot and hitting it with the other.

40 min: That was fantastic stuff from Mba. Moses had finally taken a shot but it bounced back off a Burkina Faso back. Looping out to Mba, rushing in from midfield, he managed to dink it up and into the box with one foot, then clobbered it into the net. Great strike.

43 min: Burkina Faso nearly get a chance to equalise immediately but Nakoulma was offside after Bance’s knock down. A moment later Pitroipa went down in the box (a little too easily for some people’s liking) under the attentions of Omeruo. No penalty – and rightly so. Taking that setback well, Bance decides to leather another long range blast from distance. Over. As usual.

44 min: Pitroipa latches onto a raking, crossfield ball but his touch lets him down. He passed directly to Koffi rather than cross.

45 min +1: Mba pounces on a poor pass out of the defence from Burkina Faso. In space, he lines up a shot from 40-odd yards. It goes high over the bar though.

Peep, peep

That’s half-time. Nigeria deservedly lead but Burkina Faso are by no means out of this.

Peep, peep

45 min: The second half is underway. Burkina Faso get us going.

46 min: It’s a scrappy start to the second half, the ball bouncing about all over the place. Finally Nigeria slow things down for a bit but Onazi then flashes a pass centrally up the pitch and to nobody.

48 min: Moses finds Ideye in the box. He turns and fires a shot across the face of goal from, virtually, the byline. It fizzes past the posts. Good effort, though perhaps pulling the ball back was the better option there.

50 min: Onazi hits a long ball to Uche on the left wing. It skids off the surface and into touch though, with the Nigeria forward free in space. Unlucky.

51 min: Burkina Faso are triyng to find Bance with long balls up the middle. The big striker has been fairly isolated today but he’s a powerful presence up there alone.

53 min: Moses wins a corner, battling with Koffi up the Nigerian left wing. Koffi’s not happy about it but he’ll have to suck it up, frankly. Burkina Faso clear the ball, after a fashion, and rattle their way forward. Nakoulma is unlucky to concede a free-kick for handball as he charges forward though, the ball pinging off his hand without him knowing much about it. Uche gets taken off and Musa replaces him for Nigeria.

55 min: Nakoulma crosses from the left wing and the ball deflects behind off Victor Moses. Kabore delivers but Nigeria clear. They counter at pace and Moses finds himself clear in the box. Rather than slap the ball home though, he looks for a pass and Burkina Faso can get the ball back out. Odd from Moses, he should have taken a shot.

57 min: Pitroipa goes down under a challenge from Omeruo. The contact is pretty accidental, without any malice. But Omeruo gets a yellow, as does Mikel for arguing with the referee. Nigeria have the hot, hot heat on here – and rightly so, Pitroipa is doing the full James Brown here, hobbling from the pitch but just lacking the blanket over the shoulders for the full tribute act.

58 min: Kabore delivers the free-kick into the box and Bance gets up to head the ball. He finds only Emyeama’s arms though. Pitroipa has limped back onto the pitch.

60 min: Pitroipa whizzes up the left wing and pings the ball into the box. But Burkina Faso still can’t get a shot at goal.

62 min: Pitroipa is everywhere at the moment, tricking his way around the pitch. This time, he’s sqiurming around up the left flank. His heel is clipped by Ambrose and he goes down for a free kick on the left flank. A strong defensive header gets the ball clear.

63 min: Kone flashes a long-range shot from a good distance out. The ball skims off the surface and wide of the left hand post.

65 min: Looks like Oshaniwa is coming on for Nigeria as Echiejile is lying flat on his back, pole-axed on the pitch. Not sure what happened there. For Burkina Faso, Sanou is coming on for Rouamba.

66 min: Lovely run from Moses, a lovely twisting wiggle up the right. He hit the cross high and over the Nigerian forward though, rather than along the ground. Pitroipa seems to have moved to a central position for Burkina Faso.

69 min: Nigeria aren’t exactly gunning for a second goal here, instead they’re playing with a certain amount of caution. They’re helped by the fact Burkina Faso aren’t throwing much at them at the moment. Pitroipa needs to inject the spark in the Burkinabe midfield.

70 min: Corner to Burkina Faso, but it’s hit too deep and Nigeria can clear.

71 min: Oshaniwa is carded for clattering Kabore to the floor. He concedes a free kick on the right wing, which is flashed into the box. Mikel easily thumps it away though.

72 min: Burkina Faso are getting on top for a spell here. They have a corner, from which Kabore thumps the ball into a Nigeria hand in the area – it was ball to hand rather than a penalty – and Nigeria scramble the ball away for another corner. Finally Ambrose gets a good header on it to clear. Nigeria counter at speed and Moses finds Musa in the box … who falls over on the turf with the goal at his mercy.

74 min: Fantastic save from Enyeama! Nakoulma played in Sanou, who thwacked a fantastic shot at the far post. A finger-tip save from the Nigeria keeper stops him from equalising.

77 min: That really was a great save – missed by the ref who gave a goal kick. But it came at the end of a period of Burkina Faso dominance. They are just beginning to wake up now.

78 min: Nakoulma is offside, hoping for an early ball on the edge of the penalty area. Alain Traore, the key Burkina Faso who is injured and sat on the bench, has a pained look on his face – one that suggests he would love to have been on the end of just such a ball.

79 min: Sunday Mba has a wild shot from distance, slightly taking the sheen off his brilliant goal.

82 min: Nigeria flick and trick their way up the right wing but Ideye goes down under the challenge of Koulibaly, more or less buying the free-kick. It’s just outside the area to the right of the goal. Ideye stands over the ball, lines up a shot, and plants the ball perfectly into the lap of that chap in row K.

84 min: I think it’s fair to say that there has never really been much heat in this final. Burkina Faso, for all the romance of their being here, haven’t really tested Nigeria much. It means Nigeria have played within themselves too. Paul Put attempts to shake things up – he takes off the centre back Koulibaly and replaces him with the striker Dagano.

86 min: Musa flies up the left wing and his cross into the box causes havoc. Burkina Faso flail around, trying to clear the ball, and Moses is just unable to get a shot in. A minute later, Musa flies up the same wing and crosses to Ideye who fails to flick the ball at goal too. That would have killed this off … is there still time for Burkina Faso?

87 min: Those were Nigeria’s two best chances of the match – one of them really should have scored. But Ideye’s had an off night tonight and Moses has been oddly reluctant to shoot.

89 min: Nakoulma is flagged offside (but wasn’t) but crosses nonetheless. The Nigeria clearance is nervy – but unnecessary because of the offside flag. It does suggest they’re a little worried in the last minutes of this game. Stephen Keshi brings off Mba and replaces him with Yobo, looking to see the game out.

90 min: The other Traore comes on for Kone – Abdou Razack – with four minutes of injury time to play.

90 min + 1: Nigeria can feel this now … the drums in the stadium are pounding harder and harder.

90 min + 3: Ideye handballs in the centre of the pitch, halfway into the Nigeria half. He’s given a harsh yellow too. Rather than chip the ball into the box, Dagano thrashes a wild shot at goal from distance. He finds the stands.

90 min + 4: The Nigeria subs are bouncing on the spot, nerves coursing through them. Burkina Faso launch another last ball long towards the goal but Enyeama claims.

PEEP PEEP: NIGERIA WIN THE AFRICA CUP OF NATIONS!

That’s it – the referee blows his whistle and Nigeria are the 2013 African Cup of Nations Champions!

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