Football

African nations qualify for 2014 World Cup finals

Moses helped Nigeria record a 4-1 aggregate victory over Ethiopia  (©GettyImages)
Moses helped Nigeria record a 4-1 aggregate victory over Ethiopia (©GettyImages).

Nigeria and Ivory Coast beat Ethiopia and Senegal respectively on Saturday, to ensure they will be performing on football's biggest stage in 2014, when the World Cup returns to Brazil.

The Super Eagles recorded a narrow 2-1 victory in the first leg on Wednesday, and although Ethiopia were full of heart and passion, the quality showed through in Saturday's encounter.

Just 20 minutes had gone when the game was all but over, Aynalem Hailu was harshly penalised for handball, after the ball bounced off his chest and onto his arm, but Victor Moses wasn't complaining, and slotted home expertly from the spot to give his Nigerian side a 3-1 lead.

Ethiopia had reached this stage at the expense of 2010 hosts South Africa, a shock to some, and were attempting to qualify for their first ever World Cup. Those hopes were dashed though late on, when Obinna smashed home a free-kick on 82 minutes, putting the final nail in the coffin for the Ethiopian side. The 4-1 aggregate victory ensured they reached their fifth World Cup in the last six.

Didier Drogba and his Ivory Coast teammates had one foot in next years competition after a 3-1 success in the first leg of their qualifier, but still had a professional job to do against Senegal on Saturday.

The Elephants looked shaky in the first-half, two penalty appeals and a succession of efforts could have seen the tie back in the balance, but Papiss Cisse missed the best of them, dragging a shot wide from inside the area.

N'Doye then curled a free-kick wide, but Sow - a second half sub - was given a better chance when Drogba upended Mane in the area, and Sow duly delivered, making it 3-2 with 13 minutes left.

Chances were far from frequent, but the chance to equalise came in stoppage time, when Salif Sane was first in a goalmouth scramble - but could only poke the ball wide.

The killer blow then came in the 94th minute, when a incisive break away left Kalou to slot home and give his country their third straight World Cup.

There are now three places up for grabs in Brazil 2014 for African sides, and while Ghana have all but qualified after thrashing Egypt 6-1 in the first-leg, the other two games are very much in the balance, Burkina Faso holding a faint 3-2 lead over Algeria, while Cameroon and Tunisia are locked at 0-0 after their encounter.


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Topics:
World Cup
Football
Victor Moses
Internationals
Didier Drogba

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