Nigeria edged past Angola with a slender 1-0 victory in a gripping quarter-final match at the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations, courtesy of Ademola Lookman’s decisive strike. The intense battle, largely dominated by Nigeria, unfolded at the Felix Houphouet-Boigny Stadium in Abidjan, where the former England Under-21 winger Lookman showcased his talent by converting a precise assist from Moses Simon shortly before the halftime whistle.
Despite the narrow scoreline, the Nigerian side displayed superiority for the majority of the match, with their performance only slightly marred by a disallowed goal in the 75th minute. Victor Osimhen’s header was ruled out for offside by the video assistant referee (VAR), adding a twist to an already thrilling encounter.
Angola, on the back foot for extended periods, had a golden opportunity to level the score through Zine. However, his attempt to find the net was thwarted by the post in a moment that could have changed the game’s complexion.
The victory propels Nigeria into the semi-finals, where they will face the winner of the quarter-final clash between Cape Verde and South Africa. This advancement underscores Nigeria’s ambition to claim their fourth continental title, adding to their illustrious history in the tournament.
The match was not just a testament to Nigeria’s tactical prowess but also highlighted the challenging conditions, with players battling not only their opponents but also the intense humidity. Angola, having surpassed expectations by topping their group, faced a formidable Nigerian defense that has been impenetrable throughout the tournament, maintaining four consecutive clean sheets.
The encounter was a mix of tactical discipline and missed opportunities, with Angola’s strategy to contain and counter being eventually undone by Lookman’s clinical finish. Nigeria’s journey to the semi-finals is marked by resilience and a collective effort, epitomized by standout performances and a defense that continues to set the standard for competitors.