Nigeria, Burkina Faso to meet in African Cup final
DURBAN, South Africa (AP) - Nigeria closed in on its first title since 1994, advancing to Sunday's final of the African Cup of Nations against a surprising Burkina Faso team looking to lift the trophy for the first time.
Nigeria routed Mali 4-1 in Durban on Wednesday to reach the final for the first time since losing to Cameroon on penalty kicks in the 2000 title game. The Super Eagles built a 4-0 lead on goals by Elderson Echiejile in the 25th, Brown Ideye in the 30th, Emmanuel Emenike in the 44th and Ahmed Musa in the 60th, then allowed Cheick Diarra's goal in the 75th.
At Nelspruit, Burkina Faso upset Ghana 3-2 on penalty kicks after a 1-1 tie.
"Surprises are always there,'' Burkina Faso coach Paul Put said. "Maybe this time is our time.''
Wakaso Mubarak put the Black Stars ahead in the 13th minute after Madi Panandetiguiri fouled Christian Atsu, his fourth goal of the tournament and third on penalty kicks.
Aristide Bance tied the score in the 60th. Burkina Faso hoped to be awarded a penalty kick in the 117th minute, but instead Jonathan Pitroipa was ejected when Tunisian referee Slim Jdidi called him for diving and gave him his second yellow card.
During the shootout, Ghana's Isaac Vorsah and Emmanuel Clottey sent kicks wide, and Agyemang Badu was stopped by Burkina Faso goalkeeper Daouda Diakite on the final shot.
Bakary Kone, Henri Traore and Bance converted kicks for Burkina Faso, and Atsu and Harrison Affu made their kicks for Ghana, which hasn't won since 1982.
The title game will be played at Soccer City in Johannesburg. Nigeria will be seeking its third title. It also won in 1980.