Nigeria vs. Mali, 1st Semifinal, Africa Nations Cup Preview, Prediction, and Pick

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Nigeria vs. Mali, 1st Semifinal, Africa Nations Cup Preview, Prediction, and Pick

After beating hot favorites Ivory Coast and against all odds, the Nigerian soccer team has managed to qualify for the semis after playing marvelous football. Mali, in the other game, prevailed over South Africa in which their goalkeeper made some saves of his life. No one really expected any of the sides to make it this far, but they'd now meet in the first semifinal of Africa Nations Cup 2013 to be played on 6th Feb 2013 at 20:30 IST. The winner of this game would meet either of Ghana and Burkina Faso in the final of Africa Nations Cup and it' be really interesting to see who qualifies for the big day.

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Mali has played good football, but rather defensively and that's the nature of the football they play. Mali broke South African hearts after knocking the hosts out in the penalty shootout after playing a 1-1 draw. The hero of their victory had to be their keeper who saved twice to stop South Africa from scoring. Another big player in their side is Keita who has played for Barcelona and is a force to reckon with. He'd have to show is class if Mali has to proceed any further.

» Odds and Sports Betting Line

Nigeria after beating Ivory Coast has already won hearts of many soccer fans, and would now be looking to go through to the final. Nigeria is unbeaten in the tournament and they are playing their own style of football which is rather aggressive yet attractive. They've won both matches and hearts and if they continue to play in the same fashion, it would be hard to stop them.

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» Free Prediction

Although, Mali is ranked at a better position than Nigeria, but looking at the way the teams are playing, chances are bleak that Mali would qualify. Of all the matches Mali has played with Nigeria so far, Nigeria has either emerged victorious or the game has ended in a draw. Going by the history and current form, I think Nigeria would pull it off.

  • Prediction: Nigeria: 2 Mali: 1

» Free Pick

Mali's weak form and defensive gameplay might hurt them in the semifinal against Nigeria. Nigerian team is on a roll and they'd like to continue it and has all the chances to do it. If the teams continue to play like they are playing now, Nigeria is likelier to emerge as winner. 20:30 GMT