Nigeria are through to the semi-finals of the TotalEnergies CAF Africa Cup of Nations after a hard-fought 1-0 win over giant-killers Angola in Abidjan on Friday.
The Super Eagles had to work hard for the victory against the Palancas Negras side that had exceeded expectations in reaching the last eight.
Nigeria dominated the early exchanges with Napoli striker Victor Osimhen denied by the crossbar from Ademola Lookman’s pinpoint cross.
But on the stroke of half-time, Moses Simon turned provider, slipping in Lookman who slotted calmly beyond goalkeeper Guilherme da Costa to give Nigeria the lead.
Angola almost equalised soon after the break when substitute Abrosini Salvador was sent through one-on-one but could only rattle the post with his effort.
The Palancas Negras continued to threaten, but Osimhen looked to have doubled Nigeria’s advantage against the run of play, rising highest to head in Lookman’s cross with 16 minutes left.
But the effort was ruled out bv the referee leaving the final minutes of the match in a high tempo.
The Super Eagles advance to the semi-finals for the 15th time as they continue their bid for a fourth African title.
Angola’s fairy-tale debut run comes to an end, but they can hold their heads high after matching some of the continent’s best teams.
Nigeria will face the winner of Saturday’s quarter-final between Cape Verde and South Africa for a place in the final.
What the coaches said
Pedro Gonçalves – Angola coach
“I would like to congratulate the Nigeria team, they are very strong, the coach has put in place a solid system. They deserved their victory.
“I think we could have won. We fought for the whole 90 minutes. We felt sorry for ourselves after conceding the goal. We had opportunities to score but we didn’t put them in. I have the feeling of having succeeded in my mission with the Angolan national team. I am aware of the work I have accomplished with my team, no one expected Angola in the quarter-finals.”
José Peseiro – Nigeria coach
“The team could have created more chances. We are a quality team. Angola were a very good team but we were out of luck. Once again, we played without conceding, we scored a goal, but I would have liked us to score more. I remain satisfied with the performance of my players so far”.