AFCON 2013: Nigeria down Ivory Coast to make Semi-final
Category: Editor's picks
The Eagles, termed 'underdogs' at the championship, were the best team from the kick-off and deservedly took the lead on the 42nd minute of the cracker.
The Super Eagles won a free-kick 30yards away but rather than lopping it into the goal area as they normally do, Mikel Obi decided to set it for Emmanuel Emenike to fire a thunderous shot into the net, leaving the opposing keeper hapless.
The goal, no doubt, was a remedy for his extravagance in front of goal earlier. He blew a goal-scoring chance away in the early period of the game after being perfectly set up by Brown Ideye.
The Eagles' lone goal lead didn't change the tone of the game as the Nigerians continued keeping possessions while threatening to add to their tally.
However, the Ivoriens came back stronger after the interval and in the 49th minutes, Cheik Tiote was given the room needed to coolly nod home from a free-kick.
The Ivoriens' fire died down after about twenty minutes into the second half as the Eagles continued from where they left off in the first half.
The Nigerians were creating chances after chances and in the 78th minute, their efforts finally paid off as Sunday Mba raced from his own half to fire a deflected shot past the Ivorien keeper.
The Elephants tried to secure a late equaliser but their efforts were in futility as the Eagles ran out 2:1 winners.
We proved critics wrong
Speaking at the post match Press Conference, Super Eagles coach, Stephen Keshi said his team showed character in the face of pessimism from most Nigerians.
"Before we came out this evening, nobody gave us the chance. The boys came out and showed character."
While thanking God for the victory, Keshi maintained that the team had much more left to offer.
"With this team, we can make it. There are alot of possibilities from this team."
Speaking about the task ahead at the championship, Keshi simply said: "From here we can go to the final."