In a hard-fought encounter, Nigeria clinched a spot in the semifinals of the 2023 AFCON with a 1-0 win over Angola in Abidjan. The victory propels the Super Eagles to their 15th semifinal appearance as they aim for a fourth African title.
Nigeria dominated the early moments, with Napoli striker Victor Osimhen narrowly missing a goal as his shot hit the crossbar from Ademola Lookman's precise cross. However, just before halftime, Moses Simon set up Lookman, who calmly slotted the ball past goalkeeper Guilherme da Costa to give Nigeria the lead.
Despite Angola's efforts, including a close attempt by substitute Abrosini Salvador hitting the post early in the second half, the Super Eagles managed to maintain their lead. Osimhen appeared to double Nigeria's advantage, heading in Lookman's cross, but the referee ruled the effort out.
Nigeria's coach, José Peseiro, expressed satisfaction with the team's performance, stating, “The team could have created more chances. We are a quality team. Angola were a very good team but we were out of luck.”
Angola's coach, Pedro Gonçalves, congratulated the Nigerian team, acknowledging their strength and solid system. Despite the loss, Gonçalves praised his team's effort, saying, “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.”
The Super Eagles will now face the winner of Saturday's quarter-final clash between Cape Verde and South Africa, seeking a place in the final. Angola's fairy-tale debut run in the tournament concludes, with the team receiving praise for matching some of the continent's best teams.