Live Commentary: Mali 1-4 Nigeria - as it happened

Sunday Mba is mobbed by his team mates after scoring the winner against Ivory Coast on February 3, 2013
© PA Photos
Live text updates from the Africa Cup of Nations semi-final between Mali and Nigeria.

Nigeria became the first team in to the final of the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations with an easy win over Mali.

The two-time champions beat their opponents 4-1 to cruise in to Sunday's showpiece.

Goals from Elderson Echiejile, Brown Ideye, Emmanuel Emenike and Ahmed Musa helped Nigeria on their way.

They will face either Burkina Faso or Ghana for the championship on Sunday.

Read how all the action unfolded below:


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2.32pmGood afternoon, let's start with a look at the lineups for today's match.

2.34pmMALI STARTING XI: Mamadou Samassa, Fousseiny Diawara, Adama Tamboura, Kalilou Traore, Molla Wague, Momo Sissoko, Mahamane Traore, Mahamadou N'diaye, Seyou Keita, Modibo Maiga, Mahamadou Samassa

2.36pmNIGERIA STARTING XI: Vincent Enyeama, Elderson Echiejile, Kennth Omeruo, Godfrey Oboabona, Efe Ambrose, Sunday Mba, Ogenyi Onanzi, John Obi Mikel, Victor Moses, Brown Ideye, Emmanuel Emenike

2.37pmSo there you are, Nigeria are unchanged from the side that beat Ivory Coast at the weekend, while Mali make four changes to the team that knocked South Africa out.

2.39pmAmongst the changes for Mali is the return of Mamadou Samassa in goal, despite Soumalia Diakite saving two penalties during their shootout with South Africa in the quarter-finals.

2.41pmNigeria's coach, Stephen Keshi, will know the Mali side well. He was their coach until 2010, when he was sacked following their early exit from the Africa Cup of Nations that year.

2.42pmAhead of the game, Keshi told reporters: "Somehow, the Nigeria fans don't appreciate their players. But I know my team, I know their mentality. I know the boys I picked were right, I have confidence in them.

"Mali is a football nation, they have great talent. I have a lot of admiration for Mali's team, for the players.

"It is a great shame what is going on in Mali. What is happening is something we should not be proud of."


2.43pmMali coach Patrice Carteron said: "The players have been taking it easy. We had a physically taxing match against South Africa, the players need time to recover.

"It's important for the players to focus on our next match. But first, we relax.

"The target for us has been to improve on what the team achieved last year and so far we are on course to doing so."


2.47pmMali have never won the Africa Cup of Nations, finishing third in last year's tournament. Nigeria have been the champions on two previous occasions, in 1980 and 1994.

2.50pmIt looks like a good size crowd at the Moses Mabhida Stadium. There were a lot of empty seats earlier in the tournament, but the crowd numbers have definitely improved as the competition has progressed.

2.53pmBoth teams are in the tunnel ready to head out to the pitch for the first of the two semi-finals today.

2.55pmBefore the game gets underway, the national anthems for both nations are to be played to the crowd.

2.57pmJudging by the noise from the crowd it's a predominantly Nigerian crowd. That shouldn't bother Mali though, they knocked the hosts out in the last round.

2.59pmThe teams are in formation and ready to go. Nigeria are the favourites for this match, but it should be a close one.

0 minNigeria get the first half underway.

2 minIt's been a quiet opening spell. Nigeria look comfortable on the ball in the opening couple of minutes, passing the ball around the midfield, with Mali not looking to challenge early on.

4 minMali get on the ball for the first time and look to push up the pitch towards Nigeria's goal, but the move is easily stopped by Nigeria's back four. On the counter attack, Mikel picks out Echiejile who looks to cross to Emenike, but his mis-times the kick, and the ball goes out of play.

6 minOnanzi looks to get a shot away for Nigeria, but his effort is well off target. Nigeria have easily been the better team in the first five minutes of this semi-final.

8 minCHANCE! Mali win a corner. The ball is whipped in towards goal, but N'diaye can't get his head cleanly on the ball, and it's an easy clearance for Nigeria. Mali are just starting to find their way in to this game.

10 minNigeria are on the attack again, but Mali take the ball away from their opponents, with Diawara finding Maiga, but takes the ball inside the Nigeria penalty area, but the ball is bundled out for a goal kick.

12 minCHANCE! Kalilou Traore crosses the ball to Mahamane Traore from a corner, who rises high to head the ball towards goal, but the header flies just high. Mali have looked dangerous during set pieces.

13 minCHANCE! Momo Sissoko takes a strike from outside the penalty area. The ball is well wide, but it was a well-struck effort. Mali have had the better of the chances so far.

15 minCHANCE! Ideye has the first shot on target for Nigeria, but Samassa just keeps it out with an outstretched foot. Emenike has a chance to fire the rebound in, but he hesitates, and Mali put the ball out for a corner, which is easily cleared.

18 minAfter a flurry of chances, it's calmed down a little. Both teams are looking to hold the ball in midfield at the minute, with Nigeria having the more success.

21 minMali have won the ball back and are looking to head towards Nigeria's goal, but Nigeria seem to have more urgency about them, and retake possession before breaking in to the Mali penalty area, N'diaye just managing to prevent an Emenike strike.

22 minCHANCE! Mikel hits the ball brilliantly on the half-volley, but his effort creeps inches wide. Samassa looked like he had the post covered through.

24 minPENALTY APPEAL! Mikel bundles Traore down in the box, and Mali appeal for a spot kick, but it did look like the Chelsea man was playing the ball. Nigeria make hard work of clearing the ball through, allowing their opponents several attempts to get a shot away before getting the ball away from their area.

25 minGOAL! Mali 0-1 Nigeria (Echiejile)

25 minVictor Moses gets the ball on the edge of the area, and chips the ball in to Elderson Echiejile goes in for a diving header, leaving Samassa rooted to the spot.

27 minBOOKING! Efe Ambrose picks up the first yellow card of the game for a clumsy challenge down the wing, giving Mali a free kick in a dangerous area, but the Nigeria defence clears the threat.

30 minGOAL! Mali 0-2 Nigeria (Ideye)

31 minNigeria break brilliantly, Moses picking out Emenike, who finds Brown Ideye, who just manages to control the ball before being tackled to beat the Mali keeper.

33 minCHANCE! Mali look a mess at the back now. Ideye has the ball again, and with no teammates ahead of him, he goes for a shot from long range, forcing a save from Samassa. This is fantastic stuff from Nigeria at the minute. They were hotly tipped ahead of the tournament, and they're living up to their billing here.

35 minMali force a corner, but it's an easy clearance again for Nigeria. Ambrose chips the ball away from the Nigeria penalty area, picking out Onanzi, who tries to lob the ball beyond Samassa, who is off his line, but he just gets back far enough to make the save.

37 minMali are desperately seeking a goal, but every time look to break in to the Nigeria area they lose the ball, allowing their opponents to break while they're out of position. It's a master class in counter-attacking football from Nigeria at the minute.

39 minEchiejile is brought down by Diawara, who also catches the ball with his arm to concede a free kick.

41 minNigeria get a throw in by the corner flag and quickly make their way up the pitch, Moses looking to back heel the ball to Ideye on the edge of the area. Mali get the ball away, but only as far as the midfield, and Nigeria are back on the attack.

43 minMaiga tries to pick out Mahamadou Samassa on the edge of the Nigeria penalty area, but Samassa is just a little too eager, and finds himself offside, allowing Nigeria to press back towards the Mali goal.

44 minGOAL! Mali 0-3 Nigeria (Emenike)

45 minIt's a cruel goal for Mali to concede. Emenike steps up to take a free kick on the edge of the area. The ball takes a huge deflection off the wall, leaving Samassa stranded at the wrong side of the goal, and he can only watch as the ball bobbles in. That is surely game over.

45+1 minThere are two minutes of stoppage time being played, and it doesn't look like the half-time whistle can come quick enough for Mali, they look crushed by the scoreline.

45+3 minHALF TIME: Mali 0-3 Nigeria

3.48pmThe half ends with Mali winning a free kick around 20 yards out, but the ball is blasted straight in to the wall, rounding off a 45 minutes to forget for Mali.

3.49pmAfter a quiet start, Mali saw the best of the early chances, but some sensational play from Victor Moses, John Obi Mikel and Brown Ideye ensured that Nigeria were always a threat when heading towards goal, eventually breaking the deadlock in the 25th minute.

3.51pmBrown Ideye will be happy to have found the back of the net. His 25th-minute header was his first international goal.

3.54pmMali will be most disappointed with the third goal. A hole in their wall allowed Emmanuel Emenike to force his deflected free kick beyond Samassa in the Mali goal. A more solid wall would have seen the effort blocked, but instead it wrong-footed the keeper.

3.57pmIt's hard to see Mali getting back in to this game now. Nigeria rarely looked that stretched during the first half, and you get the feeling they have another gear to shift in to if Mali were to get a goal or two back.

4pmThe players are heading back out for the second half. It will definitely be interesting to see how Mali respond at the start of the second period.

45 minMali get the second half underway.

46 minSUBSTITUTION! Chieck Diarra has come on for Modibo Maiga at the start of this half.

47 minCHANCE! Seydou Keita picks up the ball just inside the Nigeria penalty area, but it falls to his weaker foot, and is edged wide.

49 minThere's a slight delay as Moses takes a tumble. It looked like he just lost his footing. It's noticeably wetter than before half time, and he's also wearing boots that say "Mikel" on them. Maybe that's the problem.

51 minDiarra takes the ball down the sideline towards the Nigeria goal, but he is well marked and knocks the ball out for a goal kick. This has been just the start Mali needed, they're looking much stronger on the ball than at the end of the first 45.

54 minSUBSTITUTION! Victor Moses goes off for Ahmed Musa. It looks like it's just a precautionary move, he seemed to give his ankle a bit of a twist early on in the second half, but had managed to continue after that.

55 minCHANCE! Adama Tamboura heads the ball just over for Mali.

57 minSUBSTITUTION! Momo Sissoko heads off, Cheick Diabate coming on in his place.

59 minDiabate looks to get on the ball early, but Nigeria put the ball out for a corner, which is easily cleared. Mali win back the ball on the edge of their penalty area. Nigeria are just starting to find their way in to this half after a bright start by their opponents.

60 minGOAL! Mali 0-4 Nigeria (Musa)

61 minHe's not been on the pitch that long, but Ahmed Musa has made sure that any hopes of a Mali comeback are extinguished. Some brilliant play in the lead up to the goal almost saw Ideye get his second, but it was the substitute who eventually found the back of the net, with a solid chip in a one-on-one with the keeper.

64 minDISALLOWED GOAL! Musa thinks he's got his second, having leapfrogged the keeper before slicing the ball in, but the official has got his flag up, and replays show the CSKA Moscow striker was marginally offside.

66 minMali are still looking to get on the score sheet, Samassa looking to get a cross in to the box, but Enyeama comes for it, before launching the ball back to Nigeria in midfield.

67 minSUBSTITUTION! Samba Sow comes on in place of Mahamane Traore for Mali.

68 minNigeria seem to have taken up a more defensive formation in the last couple of minutes, it looks like they'll be happy just to sit back and coast to the end of the game.

69 minBOOKING! Sow's first contribution is to elbow Emenike in the side of the head, resulting in a yellow card for the Mali player.

72 minSUBSTITUTION! Ejike Uzoenyi comes on in place of Brown Ideye for Nigeria. It's been a busy day for Ideye, surely the change is made with one eye on the final.

74 minCHANCE! Mahamadou Samassa has the best chance of the half for Mali, but Enyeama excellently outstretches his hand to tip the ball away. It's just not happening for Mali this afternoon.

76 minGOAL! Mali 1-4 Nigeria (Diarra)

77 minCheick Diarra scores a consolation goal for Mali, blasting the ball in from the centre of the penalty area. It's a good finish by the Rennes striker.

79 minCHANCE! Musa crosses to Emenike, but he's got two Malian defenders for company, and they force a scuffed shot from the Nigerian striker.

81 minNigeria look fairly content to allow Mali the majority of the possession at the moment, the majority of the Nigerian team are in defensive positions.

82 minSUBSTITUTION" Joseph Yobo is brought on in place of Efe Ambrose

84 minWhile Nigeria have been the stronger of the two sides for much of this match, they have only created two more chances than Mali, having 15 attempts at goal compared to 13 by their opponents.

85 minBOOKING! Fousseiny Diawara goes in the book for a high challenge on Emenike.

86 minNigeria are looking for a strong finish, pressing back up towards the Mali goal inside the final five minute in Durban.

88 minCHANCE! Emenike goes for a spectacular effort from 25 yards, but he's challenged as he connects with the ball, and it goes wide. He looks to be in quite some pain following the challenge.

90 minCHANCE! Diabate looks to reduce the deficit further for Mali, but Enyeama is on hand to keep the effort out. It's been a solid performance from the Nigeria goalkeeper this afternoon.

90+1 minHis side may be 4-1 up, but Stephen Keshi is still barking the orders at Nigeria from the sideline. There are going to be three minutes of stoppage time.

90+3 minCHANCE! Diabate brilliantly runs at the Nigeria penalty area, crossing to Diarra, but the Mali striker fires the ball just high. The duo have worked well together since coming on.

90+4 minMali win a corner, but it's cleared by Nigeria, and Musa looks to take the ball in to the box, but he's stopped before he can get a shot away. And that should be about it.

90+4 minFULL TIME: Mali 1-4 Nigeria

4.52pmNigeria are the first team to secure their place in the final of the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations.

4.53pmMali looked strong at the start of the second half, but a fourth goal for Nigeria killed off the game, ensuring that they will have the chance to win their third AFCON title.

4.54pmThat's all from the Africa Cup of Nations for now. Join us again from 6pm for coverage of the second semi-final between Burkina Faso and Ghana to find out who will face Nigeria in the final on Sunday. Until then, good bye.

Sunday Mba is mobbed by his team mates after scoring the winner against Ivory Coast on February 3, 2013
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