It was a nervy and cagey atmosphere in group C as the various teams slugged it out to earn their qualification spots, Chelsea’s winger Victor Moses sent Nigeria through, thanks to 2 penalty fouls against him. Victor Moses rose up to the occasion and slotting the ball under intense pressure. The Ethiopian had a chance of qualifying as well going into the game. The Nigerian team dominated the first and created chances but could not make it count. The pressure was more on Nigeria to score goals as they had drawn their first 2 games. The Ethiopian made eight changes to their team and defended astutely leaving impressive Said Saladdin upfront as the lone striker. The Nigerian team at time lack the necessary urgency and passion, and were playing for the better part of the game as team with no desire. The tempo changed once Russia based Ahmed Musa came on – he was able to inject some pace into the game and the last 20 minutes witnessed some turn around. Celtic central defender Efe Ambrose started supporting the attack, the change in the game paid off for the Nigerian eventually when Victor Moses was brought down by the Ethiopian defender. Moses went forward and slotted in the penalty calmly into the net. Moses had the opportunity again when he received a long lob from a counter attack, after round up the goalkeeper; he was brought by the same goalkeeper who had previously received a red card in the first game against Zambia. The keeper was given the match order and had to be replaced by an outfield player as the Ethiopians had exhausted their entire 3 substitute. Moses rose to the occasion again and made two in the highly intense encounter.
The other decisive game between Zambia and the Stallions of Burkina Faso ended in a goalless stalemate. The Zambian needed to win in order to assure them of a qualifying spot. The Burkinabes on the other hand just needed a draw to advance to the knockout stage. The Zambian were not in the same form that saw them win the competition last year. They create some chances but Rainford Kalaba and Colin Mbesuma could not convert their chances. In soccer pitch in Nelspruit was way below standard. Zambia would have qualified if Nigeria had not scored a goal as the fair play rule would have been used to determine the qualifiers. Burkina Faso qualified for the knockout stage for the first time since 1998 when they actually hosted the competition. Burkina Faso will be missing their key man Alain Traore after he sustained an injury 12 minutes into the game.
Togo Vs Tunisia – Mombela Stadium Nelspruit, 11.00am
Ivory Coast Vs Algeria - Bofokeng Stadium, Rustenburg, 11.00am
Oba Adeola Amokomowo
Bundesliga/African Soccer Writer
Twitter - @Amoky