20 Best Goals from the African Cup of Nations

Dan Fitch@@DJFitchFeatured ColumnistFebruary 8, 2013

20 Best Goals from the African Cup of Nations

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    There's lots to admire at an international football tournament. Clever technical play. Smart possession-based football. Astute defending.

    Yet nothing quite sums up a football tournament—defines it, even—than the goals that were scored. Think of any World Cup and you will instantly think back to a goal from that tournament, which forever lives on in your memory.

    Without further ado, we give you the goals that this tournament will be remembered for. Here's the 20 best goals from the Africa Cup of Nations 2013.

20. Jonathan Ayite vs. Ivory Coast

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    From Togo comes this clever corner routine.

    The stepover at the near post confuses the Ivory Coast defence at first, but there's still much work to do for Jonathan Ayite.

    He finishes with aplomb.

19. Wakaso vs. Cape Verde

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    When a goalkeeper heads up the field to attack a corner, two thrilling scenarios can potentially unfold. 

    The first is that the goalkeeper scores. The second is that the defending team break quickly and score into an unprotected net.

    In this video, the latter happens. Wakaso scores in the 95th minute of the game.

18. Jonathan Pitroipa vs. Togo

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    A simple goal from a corner that nevertheless came from a perfect cross and was finished with a very good header.

    Jonathan Pitroipa rises to head home from a difficult angle, winning the game for Burkina Faso against Togo.

17. El Arbi Hillel Soudani vs. Ivory Coast

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    This is the definition of a bullet-header.

    A high out-swinging cross is whipped into the danger area and it is Algeria's Soudani who rises above all to power it past the Ivory Coast keeper. 

16. Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu vs. Congo

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    This is an excellent team goal.

    An innocuous throw in, a surge of pace, followed by a slick one-two creates the space to cross.

    The delivery is perfect and all Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu has to do is slide the ball home.

15. Uwa Elderson vs. Mali

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    This goal is all about the assist. Nigeria's Victor Moses turns his man inside before delivering an enticing ball across the six-yard box.

    The chance for Uwa Elderson isn't easy, though. He has to be very agile to stoop down and head the ball home. 

14. Seydou Keita vs. South Africa

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    The move starts with a surging run through the middle before the ball is played out to the left wing.

    The cross is perfect.

    Mali talisman Seydou Keita, who makes a great run from deep, is on-call to head the ball past the keeper.

    A very nicely worked team goal.

13. Didier Drogba vs. Algeria

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    This goal is best described as "textbook Didier Drogba."

    A ball is played in from deep inside the Ivory Coast defence towards Drogba at the penalty spot. The Galatasaray striker rises, out-muscles his marker and heads powerfully home from 12 yards.

12. Emmanuel Emenike vs. Burkina Faso

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    Proof that direct football doesn't have to be ugly.

    The long ball forward is beautifully flighted rather than a hopeful punt, and is followed by a wonderfully inventive flick to put the ball into a dangerous area. 

    Emenike's run shows a real striker's instinct. He's gambled on getting in the box, despite not knowing if the ball will come to him and the finish is brave and assured.

11. Gervinho vs. Tunisia

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    Arsenal's Gervinho plays a one-two in a crowded Tunisia penalty area and is presented with a chance.

    The finish is instinctive, powerful and perfectly placed.

    That is, the type of goal that Gervinho has routinely failed to score for the Gunners this season.

10. Alain Traore vs. Nigeria

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    This goal isn't the most spectacular on this list, but the circumstances were.

    With his side seconds away from a 1-0 defeat to Nigeria, the ball falls to Burkina Faso's Alain Traore.

    The striker keeps his calm and places the ball expertly past the keeper to break Nigerian hearts.

9. Siyabonga Sangweni vs. Angola

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    As a rule of thumb, the longer you have to wait for a ball to drop before you can strike it, the more difficult it is to score.

    That's why South Africa's Siyabonga Sangweni does so well with this goal against Angola. The ball takes an age to drop down, but when it does, Sangweni is ready to calmly volley it into the net. 

8. Yaya Toure vs. Ivory Coast

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    Yaya Toure excelled for the Ivory Coast in an attacking midfielder role.

    Here he displays his class with a perfectly measured goal that curls around the unsighted keeper.  

7. Gervinho vs. Togo

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    A goal that will have all Arsenal fans wondering why Gervinho misses these sort of chances for them.

    Gervinho's run to the back post finds him on the end of the deep free kick. From there, the finish is magnificent. He hits it on the outside of his right foot from a tight angle.

6. Sunday Mba vs. Ivory Coast

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    Nigeria's winning goal against the Ivory Coast was a stunning solo effort.

    Sunday Mba picks the ball up inside his own half and surges forward. He skips past one man, before showing great technique to finish from outside the area. 

5. Alain Traore vs. Ethiopia

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    Alain Traore was one of the standout stars of this tournament until injury cruelly robbed him of his chance to make an appearance in the final. 

    Here, Traore shows great technique to bring the ball under control, before finishing emphatically. 

4. Youssef Msakni vs. Algeria

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    If you're going to score the winning goal in injury time, you might as well make it as spectacular as this one.

    Msakni picks the ball up from far outside the area, cuts inside and curls a perfectly placed goal past the keeper. The fact that it came so late, to win the game, makes the technique all the more impressive.

3. Lehlohonolo Majoro vs. Angola

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    Now this is a goal from an impossible angle.

    Lehlohonolo Majoro skips his way down the byline and is presented with what looks like an impossible angle to score from, with the keeper guarding the near post.

    Somehow, he squeezes it through the gap.

2. Alain Traore (Second Goal) vs. Ethiopia

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    If Alain Traore's first goal against Ethiopia was merely very good, his second was stunning.

    Again, he demonstrates his technique to bring the ball under control, before unleashing an unstoppable shot from long range. 

1. Emmanuel Emenike vs. Ivory Coast

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    Nigeria opened the scoring against the Ivory Coast in the quarterfinals with this stunning goal.

    The free kick was so far out that the Ivory Coast could be forgiven for not thinking there was too much danger, but they could not have been more wrong.

    As the ball is tapped to the on-running Emmanuel Emenike, he hits a powerful strike that simply flies past the keeper. 

    This is the defining goal of the Africa Cup of Nations 2013...so far.