Nigeria cruised to a 4-1 win over Mali on Wednesday to reach the Africa Cup of Nations final for the first time in more than a decade
Mali, with Captain Seydou Keita ineffective through most of the match, was trying to reach the final for the first time in more than 30 years. It had also been eliminated in the semis in last year’s tournament.
Players had said throughout the week that they wanted to win Wednesday to bring joy to fans in a country engulfed by political turmoil and clashes between French troops and Islamist extremists.
But it didn’t take long before Nigeria took control of the match at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban.
In 75 minutes, Cheick Diarra got Mali’s consolation goal.