Nigeria Secures Semifinal Spot in Hard-Fought 1-0 Victory Against Angola in 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (Photos)

Ademola Lookman’s first-half goal propels the three-time champions to the final four in Abidjan

In a closely contested match, Nigeria clinched a spot in the semifinals of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations with a narrow 1-0 triumph over a resilient Angola side. The decisive goal, netted by Ademola Lookman in the first half, proved to be the key to the Super Eagles’ success in Abidjan.

The encounter saw Angola putting up a spirited performance, with the hope of reaching their first-ever AFCON semifinal. However, Stanley Nwabali’s early save denied Mabululu’s close-range volley, setting the tone for a hard-fought battle.

The breakthrough for Nigeria came in the 41st minute when Moses Simon’s well-crafted cross found Lookman, who clinically fired into the roof of the net. Despite Angola’s efforts, particularly a near miss by Zine hitting the post just before the hour mark, they were unable to find an equalizer.

While VAR disallowed Victor Osimhen’s goal for offside, Nigeria held their ground defensively, securing a place in the semifinals. The Super Eagles, the highest-ranked team remaining in the competition, showcased their ability to handle the favorites tag with a solid defensive display and dangerous attacking trio in Lookman, Simon, and Osimhen.

With this victory, Nigeria has now won four consecutive Africa Cup of Nations matches without conceding, proving their prowess in both attack and defense. As three-time champions in 1980, 1994, and 2013, Jose Peseiro’s side is poised with confidence as they progress into the semifinals.

Player of the Match – Ademola Lookman

Ademola Lookman, who previously impressed with a brace against Cameroon in the last 16, continued his stellar form by scoring the crucial goal in this encounter. The Atalanta winger’s relentless work rate was evident as he contested and won the most duels (17 and nine, respectively) among all players. Additionally, Lookman registered the highest number of touches in the opposition box (seven) and contributed significantly with 17 passes into the final third, second only to teammate Alex Iwobi (20).

Player Ratings:

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Nigeria: Nwabali 7, Ajayi 7, Troost-Ekong 8, Bassey 8, Aina 7, Onyeka 7, Iwobi 8, Sanusi 8, Simon 8, Lookman 9, Osimhen 8. Subs: Yusuf 5, Aribo 5, Omeruo N/A, Onuachu N/A*

Angola: Signori 7, Eddie 6, Gaspar 8, Buatu 7, Carneiro 6, Fredy 6, Show 7, Estrela 5, Gilberto 6, Mabululu 7, Dala 4. Subs: Zine 7, Paz 5, Luvumbo 5, Bela 5, Milson N/A

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