Late equalizer shocks Nigeria
NELSPRUIT, South Africa (AP)
A last-gasp goal from substitute Alain Traore gave Burkina Faso a surprising 1-1 draw against 10-man Nigeria on Monday in the African Cup of Nations.
Two-time champion Nigeria had controlled the Group C game from the 23rd minute, when Spartak Moscow striker Emmanuel Emenike poked home a clever backheel volley from Brown Ideye, but had victory nicked from under its nose in the final play of the game.
Nigeria defender Efe Ambrose was sent off in the 74th minute for a second yellow card, but Burkina Faso lacked the creativity to break its opponent down until Traore capitalized on a slip by defender Godfrey Oboabona in the fourth minute of stoppage time.
Victor Moses was left out by Nigeria coach Stephen Keshi because of a slight hamstring strain, but his Chelsea teammate John Obi Mikel put in a solid performance and was named man of the match.
''In our last practice game in Portugal, Victor had a little bit of a problem with his hamstring and I had to take him out of active training,'' Keshi said. ''It was better when we got here, but two days ago he felt it again and I didn't want to take chances with him because there's still a long way to go. By the time we get ready for the Zambia game, if he's fit I'll consider him.''
Aside from Traore's unexpected strike, which came as Nigeria sat back and waited for the final whistle, only striker Moumouni Dagano was able to trouble Nigeria goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama.
But Nigeria were ultimately penalized for a lack of ambition after taking the lead, creating just one good chance in the second half when substitute Ikechukwu Uche cut inside from the left wing and blazed over the crossbar.
The Super Eagles then paid when Oboabona failed to make contact with an attempted clearance and Traore side footed home.
''This was the first game that we were playing and it was the most important because we needed to have three points,'' Nigeria captain Joseph Yobo said.
The result leaves all four teams in Group C with a point after Zambia was held to a 1-1 draw with Ethiopia in the earlier game.
''I think we showed with our performance today who Burkina is and the quality that we have in the team,'' said Burkina Faso coach Paul Put. ''I'm very proud of the players. I think they had the confidence to get what is a very good point for us. Four teams have one point so everything is open.''