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Africa Cup of Nations 2013: Semifinals Scores and Results Summary

DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA - FEBRUARY 06:  Ogenyi Onazi of Nigeria and Brown Ideye of Nigeria (C) react during the 2013 Orange African Cup of Nations 1st Semi Final match between Mali and Nigeria at Moses Mabhida Stadium on February 06, 2013 in Durban, South Africa. (Photo by Anesh Debiky/Gallo Images/Getty Images)
Gallo Images/Getty Images
Timothy RappFeatured ColumnistFebruary 6, 2013

For Nigeria, Mali, Burkina Faso and Ghana, a shot at the finals in the Africa Cup of Nations was on the line on Wednesday. 

Could Mali improve upon their third-place finish in last year's tournament?

Could Nigeria finally live up to their immense potential?

Could Burkina Faso's stingy defense stifle Ghana, the most consistent team in the tournament to this point?

Questions, so many questions. On Wednesday, we finally got some answers. 

 

Burkina Faso Defeats Ghana, 1(3)-1(2) in Penalties

After playing to a 1-1 draw for the first 120 minutes, Burkina Faso advanced to its first ever final with a 3-2 win on penalties.

Ghana took early control when Christian Twasam Atsu earned a penalty in the 12th minute and midfielder Wakaso Mubarak went on to sneak it past the keeper from the spot a minute later. 

It appeared as though The Black Stars were going to coast to a 1-0 victory, but Charles Kabore put one in from the edge of the box to equalize in the 60th minute.

The match would eventually move to extra time, where both teams dangerously threatened on several different occasions. With just minutes remaining, Ghana got a magical goal-line save from defender Harrison Afful to keep things even and send it to dreaded penalties. 

In penalties, Ghana sent two wide and had another saved while Burkina Faso slotted home three of its four attempts to make history. 

 

Nigeria Defeats Mali, 4-1

If you had questions about Nigeria's ability, they were answered in a big way on Wednesday. By the time halftime finally rolled around, Nigeria held a 3-0 lead in this match and had a spot in the final all but wrapped up.

Suddenly, the Nigerians look like the heavy favorites to win the final. This was as dominant a performance as we've seen at this tournament.

Mali seemed stronger early on, but Nigeria quickly settled down and the floodgates opened in the 25th minute. Uwa Elderson Echiéjilé would give Nigeria a lead the Super Eagles would never relinquish, Brown Ideye would add a second in the 30th minute and Momo Sissoko would wrap things up by deflecting in an Emmanuel Emenike shot in the 44th minute.

For good measure, Ahmed Musa would make it four in the 60th minute. It could have been worse, but Musa was denied his second goal after being called offside, while Mali would salvage some self-respect after Cheick Diarra scored.

But this was all Nigeria, and they promise to be a handful in the final. At this point, don't bet against this red-hot Super Eagles side.

 

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