28 January 2014
Africa Cup of Nations champions Nigeria remain on course to win a second continental title in South Africa after sneaking a 4-3 win over Morocco in extra time of the African Nations Championship (Chan) quarterfinals at the Cape Town Stadium on Saturday.
It took a remarkable comeback from the Super Eagles to get by the Atlas Lions, who led 3-0 at half-time and 3-2 only moments before the final whistle would have sounded.
Morocco built up what looked like an unassailable 3-0 lead at the break after a hat- trick from Mohsine Moutaouali, which came within the space of seven minutes after he had scored his first with a delicate chip in the 33rd minute.
Nigeria, though, got exactly what they needed when Ugonna Uzochukwu struck within four minutes of the restart. Only six minutes later, it was 3-2 after Rabiu Ali pulled back the deficit further.
Morocco, nonetheless, appeared to be on their way into the semi-finals, but Christantus Ejike found a late equaliser before Abubakar Ibrahim took advantage of a goalkeeping error to snatch a stunning victory for the Super Eagles.
Stephen Keshi’s charges will face Ghana in the semi-finals after a penalty by Kwabena Adusei saw them edge the Democratic Republic of Congo 1-0 at the Free State Stadium in Bloemfontein.
DR Congo previously beat Ghana 2-0 in the final of the first African Nations Championship in 2009.
Zimbabwe defeated Mali 2-1 to secure their final four place, scoring early through Simba Sithole and midway through the second half through Kudawashe Mahachi before Mali found a late consolation goal from Hamidou Sinayoko.
South Africa’s northern neighbours will face Libya in the semi-finals after the Mediterranean Knights edged Gabon 4-2 from the penalty spot after the teams had played to a 1-1 draw.
Abdelsalam Omar had given Libya the lead five minutes into the second stanza, but Daniel Cousin levelled matters from the spot in the 73rd minute.
Cousin was again successful in the penalty shootout, as was Engozo’o Avebe, but misses from Etienne Djissikadie and Bonaventure Sokambi led to Gabon’s exit from the tournament.
The Free State Stadium hosts the two semi-finals on Wednesday, with Zimbabwe taking on Libya at 17:00, followed by Nigeria against Ghana at 20:00.