Super Eagles Soar into AFCON Semifinal, Defeat Angola 1-0

Super Eagles Soar into AFCON Semifinal, Defeat Angola 1-0

Kunle Adewale in Lagos and Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja

The Super Eagles of Nigeria at the Felix Houphouet-Boigny Stadium, Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, yesterday, defeated the Palancas Negras of Angola 1-0, in a highly competitive encounter, to book a semifinal ticket in the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations, the first time since 2019.

The Angolans would have been up as early as the fourth minute of the match after the ball fell kindly to Palancas Negras captain, Fredy but his poke home was blocked expertly by Stanley Nwabali in goal for Nigeria, who displayed good reflexes to ensure result remains goalless.

It was an even exchange until the 41st minute when Zaidu Sanusi picked out Moses Simon’s run on the left flank. The Nantes man danced past his marker before setting up Ademola Lookman, who made no mistake from seven yards out.
The goal placed Lookman into the record books as the fourth Nigerian to score three o

r more goals in the knockout rounds of a single AFCON edition, after Odion Ighalo in 2019 (4), Austin Okocha in 2004 (3) and Rashidi Yekini in 1994 (3).
Just before halftime, Nigeria could have doubled their lead, but Sanusi failed to find Osimhen when he was well-placed.
The second half started with the Super Eagles on the high, but Sanusi and Iwobi fired wide in succession from good positions in and around the box.
As the game approached the hour mark, Calvin Bassey headed just wide after a little mix-up with Victor Osimhen before the best chance of the match fell to Angola.

Zini beat the offside trap and rolled the ball past goalkeeper Nwabali, but the ball struck the post, and William Troost-Ekong cleared to safety as Nigeria heaved a sigh of relief.
The chances continued to open up for the Super Eagles, and moments after Simon had his shot blocked after an excellent mazy run, Sanusi aimed a freekick for the top corner, only for goalkeeper Antonio Signori to make a fine save.

All efforts by the Super Eagles player to increase the tally was in futility and the closest they came to increasing the tally saw Nigeria’s striker; Victor Osimhen’s header, ruled for offside.

The Angolans would however not bow out easily as they mounted severe pressure on the three-time African champions but Troost-Ekong-marshalled defence warded off everything thrown at them.
With the victory over Angola, Nigeria now awaits the winner of Cape Verde against South Africa tomorrow for a semifinal showdown at the Stade Bouake Stadium, on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has congratulated the Super Eagles for their 1-0 victory against the Palancas Negras.
In a statement, Obaseki hailed the superlative performance of the Super Eagles during the 90 minutes of the match, expressing confidence in the team to bring home the trophy.

The governor said, “I heartily congratulate our dear Super Eagles for their superlative and impressive performance against Angola in the quarterfinal stage of the 2024 African Cup of Nations (AFCON), leading to the 1-0 win over the Palancas Negras to secure the semi-final ticket of the tournament.
“The Super Eagles of Nigeria have continued to shine, improving at every game with their show of skills, strength, teamwork, and resilience. The victory is well deserved and commendable and we celebrate your exploits and accomplishments.”

Obaseki added, “We are confident that you will maintain your winning streak throughout the competition and bring home the trophy. Go for gold, champs. Congratulations.”
Also, Ogun State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun, congratulated the Super Eagles for qualifying for the semi-final. He urged the team to do Nigeria proud by qualifying for the finals of the African football showpiece.

He said: “I extend my warmest congratulations to our beloved Super Eagles on their impressive triumph over Angola, securing a well-deserved spot in the semi-finals of the African Cup of Nations.
“The team’s extraordinary display of skill, tenacity, and teamwork has made our nation proud. This victory is a testament to their hard work and dedication, and I commend every player and member of the coaching staff for their exceptional performance.”

In the same vein, the Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris,  congratulated the Super Eagles of Nigeria for their victory over Angola.
The minister commended the fighting spirit of the Super Eagles, saying it was a gladiatorial performance that had gladdened the hearts of Nigerians across the world.

“With a performance like today’s, Nigerians look forward to more outstanding victories in the Super Eagles next matches leading to a befitting victory in the AFCON finals,” Idris said.

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