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April 18, 2010 | Cup of Nations

Nigeria set to meet Senegal in Wafu Nations Cup final

BBC


There is little to choose between hosts Nigeria and Senegal as the two sides meet in Sunday's final of the Wafu Cup of Nations.

The two finalists are quite similar in their set-up both sides are founded on a very, very solid back four and are also extremely disciplined.

Hosts Nigeria and the vastly improved Teranga Lions reached the final via extra-time against Burkina Faso and Ghana respectively on Friday.

Nigeria remain unbeaten in the tournament so far after opening with a 4-0 victory over Benin, the Super Eagles went one step better in the second game by spanking Guinea 5-0 before struggling to beat their final adversaries 2-1.

Nigerian coach Daniel Amokachi changed his regular starting eleven in the final group game, and the gamble seemed set to backfire when his second string team went behind in the first half.

Amokachi was forced to introduce Ikechukwu Ibenegbu and Gbolahan Salami in the second half.

The Heartland man was quick to justify his inclusion, drawing the Super Eagles level, before the second substitute Salami secured victory.

Despite a lethargic showing against Burkina Faso in the last four, Nigeria left it late as Ahmed Musa slot home beyond inspirational Stallions goalkeeper Sere Amadou deep into extra time.

And defender Mutiu Adegoke is looking forward to an improved performance against the Teranga Lions on Sunday.

"The last match against Senegal was a difficult one. We have had to fight to make the final but we are ready for a big battle on Sunday." Dolphin of Port Harcourt's Mutiu Adegoke told BBC Sport on Saturday.

"We failed to qualify for the CHAN tournament by losing out to Niger but we now have a chance to redeem ourselves in front of our fans.

"It is an important match for us and we are determined to give it our all."

But standing between Nigeria and that victory party is Senegal who started with a 3-0 win over Guinea before a barren draw with Benin Republic.

They bounced back from a 2-1 loss against Nigeria in the final group match to beat tournament favourites Ghana 3-1 after extra time in the semi-final.

Senegal are very organised and they have a big, imposing front line to call on.

Depending on availability, Coach Joseph Koto may go for lanky top scorer Moustapha Cisse as a lone striker while midfielder Yoro Laminely from Niary Tally can cut in from the middle.

"We missed two players due to card offence against Nigeria the last time but now in the final we have nothing to worry about," Moustapha Cisse told BBC Sport.

"We have already qualified for CHAN, we won an invitational tournament in Benin and now everybody in Senegal is waiting for us to come home with this Wafu Cup.

"It has not been easy but we will show the stuff we are made of and enjoy our football against Nigeria.

In exciting captain and midfielder Djibril Sidibe, Senegal have a potential match winner, while national goalkeeper Khadim Ndiaye from Linguere provides adequate cover in goal.

The final is certainly one too close to call but the home fans are keen on redeeming their battered ego after failing to qualify for yet another CHAN tournament.

Before that epic final clash, Ghana will seek consolation in the third place match against Burkina Faso at the Moshood Abiola Stadium in Abeokuta.






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