Addis Ababa – Ethiopia advanced to the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations finals on the away goals rule after beating Sudan 2-0 in Addis Ababa on Sunday.
The Walya Antelopes needed to overturn a 5-3 defeat from the first leg and they did just that through Adane Girma and Saladine Said in the second half.
It was a tense affair from the first whistle as neither side wanted to give away too much early on, but as they game progressed, Ethiopia knew they had to take a couple risks while Sudan seemed content to sit back in defence.
The first 45 minutes produced very little goal mouth action as neither side looked to over-expose themselves.
The second 45, however, was much different as Ethiopia pushed forward more and more, and were finally rewarded for their efforts.
Sewnet Bishaw‘s side struck the first on 61 minutes through attacking full-back Adane Girma who produced a fine finish to see his side with a chance of qualification.
Egypt-based Saladine Said, who was an unused substitute in the first leg tie, snatched the much-needed second goal three minutes later to complete the Ethiopians comeback.
The remainder of the game produced a cagey affair as Sudan turned from full out defence into an attack-minded side, but Ethiopia were able to keep them at bay.
Their efforts ensured the Black Lions returned to the competition after a 31-year absence by the time the tournament kicks off in South Africa.
Ethiopia last played at the Nations Cup finals in Libya in 1982 and they had to do that without first-choice goalkeeper Sisay Bancha and defender Abebaw Butako who were sent off in Khartoum last month.
They will know their Group opponents for the finals when the draw is held in Durban on October 24.