Moses stars as Nigeria sneak through
Nigeria needed two late penalties from cool-as-ice Victor Moses to defeat Ethiopia 2-0 on Tuesday set up a quarterfinal with African Cup of Nations favourites Ivory Coast at the weekend.
All the drama at the Royal Bafokeng Sports Palace unfolded in an electric final 10 minutes of a tense, fraught match which was being played simultaneously with the other Group C game between Burkina Faso and champions Zambia in Nelspruit.
With 10 minutes remaining Nigeria were facing elimination. Both games were level at 0-0 and with Zambia and Nigeria having identical points and goal records, the former were set to qualify by virtue of a better disciplinary record in terms of red and yellow cards.
That all changed though as Ethiopia defender Alula Girma brought down Moses after 80 minutes and the Chelsea forward kept his nerve to beat goalkeeper Sisay Bancha.
A Nigerian counter-attack five minutes later then left Moses in space and bearing down on goal from the left.
Bancha rushed from his line to scythe the youngster down and was sent off after being shown a second yellow card by Moroccan referee Bouchaib Al Ahrach.
He became the second Ethiopia keeper to be dismissed in the tournament after Jemal Tassew was red-carded against Zambia and Bancha was off the field by the time Moses was ready to take the second penalty of the night.
The Nigerian again had to hold his nerve while midfielder Addis Hintsa took a long time to find a goalkeeper’s jersey that did not clash with the rest of his team.
Hintsa went in goal because Ethiopia had already used all three substitutes and the first time he touched the ball was to pick it out of the back of the net after Moses scored from the spot.
The first penalty went right, the second left and Nigeria were on their way into the knockout round.