Posted on: Sun 03 Feb 2013

Chelsea's trio of Nigerians is through to the semi-final of the African Cup of Nations after a surprise victory over Ivory Coast in Rustenburg on Sunday.

John Mikel Obi, Victor Moses and Kenneth Omeruo will now face Mali on Wednesday after seeing off the threat of former Chelsea team-mates Didier Drogba and Salomon Kalou, not to mention current Premier League rivals the Toure brothers and Arsenal's Gervinho.

All three completed the 90 minutes, with Moses in particular a constant menace to the Ivory Coast defence following his match-winning penalties against Ethiopia in their previous game.

Like that game earlier in the week, the winger was given the responsibility of set-pieces, and regularly delivered accurately. Early on Ideye Brown headed his free-kick high and shortly afterwards he stung the palms of Ivory Coast goalkeeper Boubacar Barry with a vicious drive.

Omeruo had the unenviable task of marking Drogba, but kept the striker largely quiet for a man Chelsea fans are so used to seeing so much from. He did wriggle free once in the first half but shot off target, shortly before Emmanuel Emenike gave the Nigerians with a fizzing drive from a free-kick, with which Barry should have done far better.

Just into the second half Kalou was booked for taking a tumble inside the Nigeria box, but his side were soon level when Drogba was fouled on the edge of the box and his cross was turned home by Newcastle's Cheik Tiote.

Brown headed another Moses corner wide as Nigeria reacted well to the leveller, and they went back in front 12 minutes from time when midfielder Sunday Mba drove deep into Ivory Coast territory before pulling the trigger and seeing his shot loop up off the backside of Sol Bamba and over Barry into the net.

In injury time Drogba headed Ivory Coast's final chance over at a free-kick, and the Super Eagles were through to the last four. They have so far improved as the tournament has progressed.

It means Chelsea will be without two important figures for a little longer, but without a victory in the tournament since 1994, we can only wish them well.