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Mali v Nigeria


Emenike: Golden Boot contender

Emenike: Golden Boot contender

Nigeria will be looking to end their run of third-place finishes at the Africa Cup of Nations when they take on Mali in the semi-finals on Wednesday evening.


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The Super Eagles have taken bronze at four of the last six AFCON installments, while they most recently failed to qualify for the 2012 showpiece in Equatorial Guinea and Gabon.

However, Stephen Keshi's men look set to snap their 19-year wait for Africa's biggest prize after seeing off perennial pre-tournament favourites Ivory Coast in the quarter-finals on Sunday.

The two-time African champions, who have played the most semi-final matches in the history of the tournament with 13, are set to name an unchanged side from the one that saw off Cote d'Ivoire in the last-eight, barring any training ground injuries.

Emmanuel Emenike will also be looking to take the out-right lead in the race for the Golden Boot, with the striker currently tied on three goals with Burkina Faso's Alain Traore and Ghana's Mubarak Wakaso, the latter should be in action in the day's other semi-final.

The Eagles, meanwhile, will be looking to better their third-place finish last year, and should be in high spirits after seeing off 2013 hosts South Africa in a penalty shoot-out on Saturday.

They will also be looking to replicate their 1972 final showing, although on that occasion they slumped to a 3-2 defeat against Congo.

Mali captain Seydou Keita has again proved his worth to the national team this year, having forced extra-time and then penalties against Bafana Bafana following his second-half equaliser.

Posted: 05/02/13 08:46

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