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Favourites Nigeria wary of Burkina Faso threat

Nigeria are one win away from ending a 19-year wait to reclaim the African Nations Cup but the favourites are wary of the threat posed by surprise finalists Burkina Faso in Sunday’s showdown at Soccer City.

When they drew 1-1 in their opening Group C match 18 days ago there was little to indicate that the two west African nations would meet again in the final.

However, both teams have shown grit, determination and a winning mentality that promises an excellent finale to the three-week long tournament in front of a sell-out crowd.

Nigeria appear to hold most of the keys to success having no real injury worries apart from some concerns over forward Victor Moses who has been outstanding but picked up another niggling problem in Wednesday’s 4-1 defeat of Mali in the semifinal.

In contrast, Burkina Faso will have to do without Alain Traore, who scored three goals at the start of the tournament but has missed out on the knockout rounds because of injury.

They might also be missing defender Mohamed Koffi who went off injured in the 3-2 penalty shootout victory over Ghana in their semifinal on Wednesday.

Burkina Faso also look as if they will have to cope without one of their most effective and important players, Jonathan Pitroipa, who was sent off after being shown two yellow cards by Tunisian referee Slim Jdidi against Ghana.


MALI OUT TO SEEK GHANA REVENGE

Mali hope history is repeated when they face Ghana on Saturday for the bronze medals at the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations tournament. Ghana defeated Mali 2-0 in the first round of the 2012 championship only for the losers to bounce back and win the third-place play-off by the identical score thanks to a Cheick Tidiane Diabate brace. A Mubarak Wakaso penalty earned Ghana a 1-0 win over Mali in the first round of this year’s edition at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth and that is where the teams play again this weekend with the Eagles seeking revenge for the former result.
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