It took them 40 minutes to capitalize on their superior play, but Nigeria found a goal late in the first half of the Africa Cup of Nations final, and deservedly lead Burkina Faso at the break. They've been a class above their opponents and missed a number of easy chances, but Sunday Mba came up with a moment of spectacular quality to break the deadlock.
Ideye Brown set up the first big chance of the game in the 7th minute, though he did it with a dive, winning a free kick on the edge of the area. A good delivery found the head of Efe Ambrose, but he directed his header over the bar when he should have hit the target. Two minutes later, Brown almost scored on a corner. Another excellent delivery was knocked down, and Burkina Faso keeper Daouda Diakite failed to claim the ball. It fell to Brown, who turned and blazed a shot over the bar.
Things slowed down after that, with both teams struggling to create clear chances. Nigeria was well on top, though, with the Chelsea FC pair of John Obi Mikel and Victor Moses controlling the play. Eventually, their possession turned into a goal, though it didn't exactly come from the most likely source.
In the 40th minute, Brown won a 50-50 ball in the center of the pitch that bounced to Ikechuwu Uche, who found Moses. The Super Eagles winger was tripped and probably could have won a penalty if he went down, but stayed on his feet and attempted a shot, which was blocked. The ball eventually came to Mba at the edge of the box, and he took it upon himself to surge past multiple defenders before scoring. He popped the ball up to himself as he ran into the box, then poked a wonderful volley into the back of the net at the far post with the outside of his foot.
Given Nigeria's technical superiority and their ability to control this game thus far, it's going to take something exceptional for Burkina Faso to play their way back into the match. They're clearly second best, and will need one of their stars to step up big and make something out of nowhere.