DURBAN (Reuters) – Nigeria scored three goals in a blistering 20-minute first-half spell as they routed Mali 4-1 to reach the final of the African Nations Cup for the first time since 2000 on Wednesday.
After Mali settled first and threatened to take an early lead, Nigeria clicked into gear with goals from Elderson Echiejile after 25 minutes, Brown Ideye in the 30th minute and an own goal from Mali defender Momo Sissoko just before halftime.
Substitute Ahmed Musa, who replaced the outstanding Victor Moses after 53 minutes added the fourth three minutes later when he beat the offside trap and scored by slipping the ball through goalkeeper Mamadou Samassa’s legs.
Mali, who famously came back from 4-0 down to draw 4-4 with Angola in the opening game of the 2010 finals, never looked like repeating that feat but did score a consolation goal when Cheick Diarra fired home in the 75th minute.
Nigeria will meet the winners of the second semi-final between Ghana and Burkina Faso being played later at Nelspruit.
(Editing By Alison Wildey)
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