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Nigeria v Ivory Coast: Keshi dedicates victory to God

SUPER EAGLES CHIEF COACH, STEPHEN  KESHI

Super Eagles Chief Coach, Stephen Keshi

Nigeria’s coach Stephen Keshi has attributed Nigeria’s 2-1 victory over African Nations Cup favourites, Ivory Coast, to God.

Super Eagles Chief Coach, Stephen Keshi

“I want to thank God for this wonderful victory, and sincerely thank my players for everything they did today. I hope we can keep going to the final,” said Keshi.

“Ivory Coast are the top team on the continent with lots of quality, so we tried to speed up and try to catch out players like Drogba and Yaya Toure.

“I’m glad my team is progressing in every game — there is great discipline in the team and I just hope we keep going that way.

“The boys showed character. When I played for Nigeria I had to fight, fight, fight and they did that today.

“When the Ivorians levelled we tried to defend and work out our tactics, and we scored again. Sunday came up with a beautiful, beautiful goal.”

Keshi also described the victory as the happiest moment of his life in the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations.

Nigeria’s search for their first win over Ivory Coast after two successive defeats at the Egypt 2006 and Ghana 2008 came to an end Sunday evening as the Eagles took the Ivorians to the cleaners in a grudge quarter final encounter at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium.

Keshi said: “I am happy to have finally proved critics wrong that this team can win a match against big team without a penalty. I am proud of what the lads did on the field today. They’ve made this moment my happiest moment so far.”

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Keshi also had special praise for the duo of Holland based Kenneth Omeruo and home based midfielder Sunday Mba, who was voted as the Man of The Match.

Keshi said: “I must confess that I am impressed with the performances of all the players, especially the defensive brilliance of Omeruo and the combative input of Sunday Mba. For me, they are our best players on the field today.”

Nigeria’s two goals were scored in each half of the match through Emmanuel Emenike in the 43rd minute and Sunday Mba in the 78th minute after Cheik Tiote had equalised for the Ivorains in the 50th minute.

The Joseph Yobo captained side will play Mali in the first semi final match on Wednesday.

Ivory Coast coach Sabri Lamouchi said: “I completely assume this defeat — I’m proud of my players’ work.

“I put forward the team I judged to be the best to pose problems to a good Nigeria side.

“Of course our aim was to win the title, and for certain players this could be their last chance so, yes, there is disappointment in the dressing room.

“It’s a great sadness for me as the players were working with one objective — to win this Nations Cup — but it proved not to be enough.”

with reports by Taiwo Adelu

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