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Nigeria’s Super Eagles Beat Angola To Reach AFCON Semis

Nigeria’s players celebrate scoring their team’s first goal during the Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) 2024 quarter-final football match between Nigeria and Angola at the Felix Houphouet-Boigny Stadium in Abidjan on February 2, 2024. (Photo by Issouf SANOGO / AFP)

The Super Eagles of Nigeria overcame Angola to become the first team to qualify for the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations in Ivory Coast.

Ademola Lookman scored the Eagles’ first goal in the 41st minute, connecting with Moses Simon’s cross. The goal secured Nigeria’s participation in the final four of the competition.

Nigeria’s forward #18 Ademola Lookman celebrates scoring his team’s first goal during the Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) 2024 quarter-final football match between Nigeria and Angola at the Felix Houphouet-Boigny Stadium in Abidjan on February 2, 2024. (Photo by FRANCK FIFE / AFP)

The Super Eagles then finished the game in front of 18,757 fans in Abidjan, with Osimhen scoring but having his effort disallowed due to VAR ruling him offside.

The Napoli great, Africa’s reigning footballer of the year, has only scored once at this AFCON, but Nigeria’s success has been built on an excellent defense that has now held four straight clean sheets.

Nigeria’s forward #18 Ademola Lookman (C) celebrates scoring his team’s first goal with teammates during the Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) 2024 quarter-final football match between Nigeria and Angola at the Felix Houphouet-Boigny Stadium in Abidjan on February 2, 2024. (Photo by FRANCK FIFE / AFP)

 

The three-time continental winners will face Cape Verde or South Africa in the central Ivorian city of Bouake next Wednesday, after meeting in the quarterfinals on Saturday.

Angola, meantime, returns home, but this Cup of Nations will be regarded as a victory for the Black Antelopes, who won a knockout tie for the first time in tournament history.

Africa’s 28th-ranked team fought well here but could not repeat their success over Namibia in the previous round.

Nigeria’s defender #5 William Troost-Ekong (C) celebrates after the victory at the end of the Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) 2024 quarter-final football match between Nigeria and Angola at the Felix Houphouet-Boigny Stadium in Abidjan on February 2, 2024. (Photo by Issouf SANOGO / AFP)

 

In truth, Jose Peseiro’s Nigeria team struggled to match its performance against Cameroon six days earlier, surely hampered by the heat and humidity, which were significantly more energy-sapping than at prior times in the competition.

Angola nearly took the lead after four minutes, when a corner from their right was helped on to Mabululu, whose attempt at the near post was saved by Stanley Nwabili, the Nigerian goalkeeper who had passed a fitness test to play.

Osimhen tried his luck with two headers, but Lookman, an Atalanta forward and former England Under-21 international, broke the deadlock in the 41st minute.

Moses Simon received a pass on the left, sped away from Kialonda Gaspar, and surged into the area, cutting the ball back for Lookman to finish powerfully.

Nigeria’s goalkeeper #23 Stanley Nwabali (C) grabs the ball during the Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) 2024 quarter-final football match between Nigeria and Angola at the Felix Houphouet-Boigny Stadium in Abidjan on February 2, 2024. (Photo by FRANCK FIFE / AFP)

 

Nigeria continued to produce chances after the break, but Angola squandered a golden opportunity to draw level shortly before the hour.

AEK Athens striker Zini, who came on as a half-time substitute, was passed through on goal, and his shot beat Nwabili before rebounding off the far post.

It was a huge letdown for Nigeria, who felt they had won the game when Osimhen soared to head in a Lookman free-kick with a quarter of an hour remaining, despite the Angolan goalkeeper getting a touch.

However, the effort was denied, much to the chagrin of Osimhen, who persevered until the end despite sustaining several hits and being brought to the side of the pitch on a stretcher at one point.

Written by PH

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