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Feb 062013

And then there were four.

The Cup of Nations continues to excite as the semifinals are here with some more twists to the plot.

Mali was able to outlast the hosts on penalties which sets up the chance to progress to the final for only the second time ever.  All things considered when you have the kind of turmoil at home it is sometimes difficult to put together a good run like this.  With captain Seydou Keita running the midfield they have once of the best in Africa to look to when the chips are down.

In a little bit of a surprise Ivory Coast, who looked so dominating in the group stage,was undone by a Sunday Mba goal that put Nigeria through to the semifinals. Can they progress to the final and win for the third time and first since the mid 80s? There is the talent here, it is only a matter of putting in the performance.

In a match-up that was the most interesting between Burkina Faso and Togo it was the lone extra-time goal by Jonathan Pitroipa that was the difference in putting The Stallions through to the semifinals for only the second time ever. There is the chance here if the play off Moumouni Dagano is quality but it will be asking a lot.

Ghana was more than happy with their situation of possible semifinals. After a nervous 2-0 win over Cape Verde they will be extremely tempted to look beyond to the final but that would spell disaster. There is quality at nearly every part of this squad and with as much on the line The Black Stars will be hard to beat.


Ghana v Burkina Faso: Ghana is in a great situation but Burkina Faso has been upsetting the apple cart all tournament. It will take extra-time to find the winner here, but talent will out. Ghana 2-1 a.e.t.

Nigeria v Mali: Nigeria was not anticipated by the betters to be here when they had Ivory Coast as quarterfinal opponents but here they are. Mali will now fancy it more against Nigeria. For Nigeria players, who missed out on the last tournament, they will be thinking that after beating the favorites they can win it all.  Nigeria on penalties 1-1 a.e.t.

Brian Sanders

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