In a stunning finish of the group C group match, Nigeria striker Victor Moses scored two late goals to defeat Ethiopia by 2-0 at the Royal Bafokeng stadium in Rustenburg on Tuesday. With this win; Nigeria has entered into the knockout stage of the tournament where it will meet Cote d’voire in the quarterfinal. Last ten minutes changed the course of the game when Moses got two penalties and he converted them into finely tuned goals to lead his country into the next stage of AFCON 2013. Ethiopia’s long awaited spell at African event finished at the bottom of group C while defending champion Zambia also shadowed its dreams after a 0-0 draw with Burkina Faso. Moses got his two penalties when he was stopped first by defender Alula Girma and secondly by goalkeeper Sisay Bancha inside the area and he brilliantly exploited these opportunities to win a much needed game for his nation.
As said, it was a much needed win coz otherwise Nigeria would have a tie with Zambia who also had five points and equal number of goals scored and conceived, but according to fair play, based on red and yellow cards, Nigeria would have lost to Zambia, but destiny was in Moses favor hence he did what he was there for. On the other hand, Ethiopia also had a chance to qualify for the quarterfinal if it could defeat Nigeria and Zambia also have lost its match against Burkina Faso, but both these probabilities could not be held true. Record wise, Ethiopia won the AFCON title back in 1962; its last qualifying year was 1982; after forty years it could again find its place in the African event.
The match was full of suspense until the last ten minutes spell, coz if it ended in a draw, whole scenario of group C would have different, but Moses’ late penalties changed the whole arithmetic in Nigerian favor. Actually, besides two late penalties, Nigeria also got a chance in the 66th minute when Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel’s header could not connect to the net. Anyways, Nigeria has not won any AFCON trophy since 1994 and this year it has very good chances to make a change. Nigeria coach Stephen Keshi is a happy man after the win, describing his curiosity during the match; he said, “I was not aware of what was happening in the other game. I was not really aware we were absolutely level but in the end it did not matter as the Gods smiled on us.”