Nigeria stuns Ivory Coast to reach semifinals

Updated 03 February 2013
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Nigeria stuns Ivory Coast to reach semifinals

RUSTENBURG, South Africa: Supposed underdogs Nigeria downed favorites Ivory Coast 2-1 here yesterday in an absorbing Africa Cup of Nations quarterfinal to set up a last-four meeting with Mali.
Sunday Mba grabbed the winner 12 minutes from time after Ivory Coast’s Cheik Tiote had canceled out Emmanuel Emenike’s first-half opener.
Mba’s strike brought the curtain down on Didier Drogba’s Nations Cup career, sending the African legend home without the title he and his teammates craved.
“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 Nigeria coach Stephen 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.”
The 34-year-old Drogba, who was dropped to the bench in the Elephants’ second group game, led the Ivorians at the expense of Anzhi Makhachkala striker Lacina Traore.
Goalkeeper Boubacar Barry, Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure and in-form Arsenal goal poacher Gervinho returned after being rested in the ‘dead’ game against Algeria.
For Nigeria, midfielder Fedor Ogude was suspended, with goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama wearing the captain’s armband as its normal owner, veteran defender Jospeh Yobo, struggling with an injury, was on the bench.
A lively start saw Victor Moses test Barry with a venomous shot on 10 minutes, the Ivorian keeper punching the danger away with the palms of his hands.

Two-time former champions Nigeria were giving as good as they got against the top-ranked team on the continent.
With a handful of English Premier League stars on show, the colorful 20,000 crowd could have been forgiven for thinking they were at the Emirates or Stamford Bridge rather than the Royal Bafokeng Sports Palace.
Chelsea old boy Drogba had his first real chance after the half hour, neatly controlling a high ball from the left only for his shot to take a deflection.
Then, two minutes from the break, Nigeria took command, Emineke’s superbly struck right-foot 25-yard free-kick flying through the Ivorian wall and past the head of the motionless Barry.
The Spartak Moscow attacker’s third of the tournament, putting him joint top of the 2013 scoring charts, was no more than the Super Eagles deserved.
With coach Sabri Lamouchi watching stony-faced from the dug out, Ivory Coast levelled on 50 minutes when Drogba swung in a free-kick from the left for Newcastle’s Tiote to head in at the far post for his first goal for his country.
It was game on again for the Elephants.
Moses then flashed in a corner but Barry kept out Brown Ideye’s header, the keeper cradling the ball as he would a baby.
Down at the other end, Enyeama produced a first-class save to deny Toure.
An absorbing encounter between two titans of African football was living up to its headline billing.
But with the clock ticking toward extra time, Mba, advertising the intelligence his surname suggests, weaved his way through the Ivorian defense to put Nigeria into the semifinals, his 20-yard shot taking a deflection on the way.


LeBron’s 35 help Cavs beat Celtics 87-79, reach NBA Finals

LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers blocks a dunk by Terry Rozier of the Boston Celtics during Game Seven of the 2018 NBA Eastern Conference Finals at TD Garden on May 27, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images/AFP)
Updated 28 May 2018
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LeBron’s 35 help Cavs beat Celtics 87-79, reach NBA Finals

  • In the first close game of the series — and the lowest-scoring — James played all 48 minutes and had 12 of his points in the fourth quarter for his sixth straight Game 7 win.
  • The NBA Finals begin Thursday at either Houston or Golden State.

BOSTON: With another Game 7 victory at stake, LeBron James would not miss. He would not sit out. And he would not be denied an eighth straight trip to the NBA Finals.
The four-time league MVP scored 35 points with 15 rebounds and nine assists on Sunday night, leading the Cleveland Cavaliers to an 87-79 win over the Celtics and eliminating Boston from the Eastern Conference finals in the decisive seventh game.
In the first close game of the series — and the lowest-scoring — James played all 48 minutes and had 12 of his points in the fourth quarter for his sixth straight Game 7 win.
The NBA Finals begin Thursday at either Houston or Golden State. The Rockets host the seventh game of the West finals on Monday night.
Jayson Tatum scored 24 for Boston, which was looking to return to the NBA Finals for the first time since 2010. Al Horford scored 17 points and Marcus Morris added 14 with 12 rebounds for the Celtics, who led 72-71 with six minutes remaining before the Cavaliers scored 15 of the next 17 points to pull away.
James and Horford embraced after the buzzer, then the Cavaliers donned NBA Finals hats and Eastern conference championship shirts before shuffling off the court to receive their trophy.
It’s not the one they want.
James had to do it without Kevin Love — Cleveland’s only other all-star — who sustained a concussion in Game 6 and was replaced in the lineup by Jeff Green. Making his first start since the first-round opener against Indiana, Green scored 19 points and added eight rebounds — the star of James’ starless supporting cast.
The Celtics have had more time to get used to their injuries: Gordon Hayward has been out since the first game of the season, and Kyrie Irving has been sidelined since March. With the rookie Tatum and second-year Jaylen Brown, Boston established itself as the team of the future in the East.
But the present still belongs to James.
And, for now, that means Cleveland, too.

TIP-INS
Cavaliers: Shot just 2 of 17 from 3-point range in the first half. They made three of their first 22 shots before James and Green connected on back-to-back attempts midway through the third quarter.
Celtics: Paul Pierce, whose number was retired by the Celtics this season, cheered the team on from courtside. ... Rapper 21 Savage was also at the game. ... Boston was 7 for 39 from 3-point range, with Terry Rozier missing all 10 of his attempts.