#Sports

Lookman fires Nigeria into AFCON semi-finals

Nigeria secured a narrow 1-0 win over Angola in a 2023 Africa Cup of Nations quarterfinal encounter played at the Felix Houphouet Boigny Stadium in Abidjan on Friday night.

The hard-fought victory saw the Super Eagles progress to the semifinals where they will face either South Africa or Cape Verde on 7 February. Bafana Bafana and the Blue Sharks are set to meet on Saturday in a quarterfinal match.

Angola, on the other hand, bowed out of the tournament having reached the quarterfinals for the third time. The Black Sable Antelopes will now travel back home with their heads held high after matching their best performance in the AFCON finals.

The two teams attacked each other with speed from the first minute with Black Sable Antelopes threatening first as Mabululu forced goalkeeper Stanley Nwabali into making a decent save. At the other end, Victor Osimhen’s header was well saved by keeper Antonio in the 24th minute.

The deadlock was broken in the 41st minute after some good work by Moses Simon down the left before setting up Ademola Lookman who netted to hand the Super Eagles the lead. Nigeria were 1-0 up at the interval thanks to Lookman’s third goal in his last two matches for his nation.

A lively second-half followed with Zini unlucky not to level matters in the 59th minute as the substitute’s effort hit the upright with Nwabali well beaten. The Super Eagles were awarded a free-kick in a promising area in the 63rd minute and Zaidu Sanusi was superbly denied by Antonio at the near-post.

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Osimhen, who was hungry for goals on the night, thought he had killed off the match for the Super Eagles when the SSC Napoli star scored in the 75th minute. However, the goal was disallowed for offside, but Nigeria held on to their slender lead, and ultimately, they emerged as 1-0 winners.

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