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Super Eagles Knockout Angola, Clinch Semifinal Spot in AFCON 2023

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ABIDJAN, Cote D’Ivoire – In a thrilling encounter at the Stade Félix Houphouët-Boigny in Abidjan, the Super Eagles of Nigeria secured their place in the semifinals of the Africa Cup of Nations 2023, defeating Angola 2-1 on Friday, February 2, 2034, night.

This victory marks Nigeria’s first advance past the quarterfinals stage since 2019. The team marked the victory by honouring the memory of Late Samuel Okwaraji, a Nigerian footballer who passed away on the field while playing against Angola.

Ademola Lookman emerged as the hero for Nigeria, scoring the decisive goal that propelled the Super Eagles past a determined Angolan squad.

The match saw Stanley Nwabali returning as goalkeeper for Nigeria after passing a late fitness test, with coach Jose Peseiro opting to retain the starting lineup that triumphed over Cameroon in the Round of 16.

The early minutes of the game showcased Nigeria’s control, despite Angola creating the match’s first significant opportunity.

A corner kick saw the ball fall to Angolan captain Fredy, whose attempt was skillfully blocked by Nwabali, keeping the scoreline even.

Nigeria’s attacking efforts continued, with Victor Osimhen seeking his first goal since the tournament’s opening day, only for his header to be securely held by the Angolan goalkeeper.

The deadlock was broken in the 40th minute when Lookman capitalized on a play initiated by Moses Simon and Zaidu Sanusi, putting Nigeria ahead.

Lookman’s goal not only provided Nigeria with a lead but also placed him among an elite group of Nigerian players to score three or more goals in the knockout rounds of a single AFCON edition, joining the ranks of Odion Ighalo, Jay-Jay Okocha, and Rashidi Yekini.

Despite opportunities to extend their lead, Nigeria maintained their advantage into the second half, where they continued to dominate.

Angola’s best chance to level the match came when Zini bypassed the offside trap, only for his shot to hit the post, allowing Nigeria to narrowly maintain their lead.

The match saw its share of drama with a second Nigerian goal by Osimhen disallowed by VAR for offside.

Both teams had further chances to score, but it was Nigeria who emerged victorious, advancing to the semifinals to face the winner of the Cape Verde vs. South Africa quarterfinal match.

This victory not only underscores Nigeria’s prowess and resilience but also keeps alive their aspirations for another AFCON title, stirring excitement and anticipation among fans and supporters for their upcoming semifinal showdown.

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