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AFCON23: Nigeria Beats Angola, So What Next?

Nigeria became the first African team to book a semifinal berth at the Africa Cup of Nations after a sublime first half goal from Ademola Lookman’s ensured a 1-0 win victory over Angola in the last eight on Friday. It was a cagey first half that transition into an end to end attacking impetus in the second half.

Lookman finished off a fantastic assistance from winger Moses Simon, who skipped the challenge of defender Kialonda Gaspar to break free and then teed up Ademola Lookman for his third goal of the tournament to the excitement of the Nigerian Fans in the Stadium.

The 26-year-old’s strike at the Felix Houphouet-Boigny Stadium was good enough to set up a semi-final encounter on Wednesday against either the West African team Cape Verde Islands or South Africa, who play their quarterfinal recently.

Nigeria has now qualified for the Semi-Final in 13 of their last 15 Africa cup of Nations appearances and are now elevated to the role of favourites at a tournament where almost all the heavyweight contenders have been knocked out.

Ademola Lookman’s sublime first-half goal was enough to earn Nigeria a semifinal berth and personally put him among the favorite to win the player of the tournament if he continues with his blistering form.

Angola on the other hand also had their chances, notably hitting the woodwork through substitute Zini in the 59th minute as he was put through by a clever defence-splitting pass, having a one on one situation with the Nigeria goal keeper.

That was their best chance of the match, which was cleared by Nigeria Captain troost Ekong after the ball came off from the woodwork. Nigeria proved the superior side.

The Angolans, who have never gone further than the last eight in previous Cup of Nations tournaments, came close to take the lead inside four minutes after a corner was flicked on at the near post and Mabululu saw his shot from two yards brilliantly saved by the confident Nigeria goalkeeper Stanley Nwabili.

Africa best player Victor Osimhen had Nigeria’s first real opportunity midway through the first half but his header was too close to Angola keeper Antonio Dominique.

Nigeria had more clear cut chances in the second half with Zaidu Sanusi and Alex Iwobi missing with their shots and Moses Simon cutting inside with a deft dribble past two Angola players, only to see his shot blocked.

African Footballer of the Year Victor Osimhen headed home a 75th-minute Ademola Lookman freekick but it was disallowed after a VAR check.

Some minutes later he was put through by Lookman but delayed his effort and got his shot blocked by the Angolan defence which could have easily been 2-0 up.
The Nigeria team now await the winner between Cape verde and South africa today

Later on Friday, also in Abidjan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Guinea meet in the second of the quarterfinal clashes. Guinea draws the first blood by converting a penalty in the 20th minute by M. bayo, but the Congolese equalize 7 minute later by C. Mbemba.

In the second half Congo had a penalty of their own that was coverted by Yan Wissa to make it 2-1 and finished the game up in the 82 minute with a strike from Masuaku. Congo 3- Guinea 1.
The Congo team now await the winner between host Cote d’ivoire and Mali which will be played today.

Mali vs Cote d’ivoire – 6pm Nigeria time.
Cape Verde vs South Africa – 9pm Nigeria time.

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