Nigeria vs Angola: Lookman strike sends Super Eagles into AFCON 2024 semis

Ademola Lookman’s first-half strike was enough for Nigeria to beat Angola to advance to the semi-finals of the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON 2024).

The Atalanta winger applied a ferocious finish to Moses Simon’s cross late in the first half as the Super Eagles ran out as winners.

Jose Peseiro made the bold decision to stick with the same line-up that started in the round of 16 victory against Cameroon last week.

Stanley Nwabali passed a late fitness test to start between the sticks, while the back three consisted of William Troost-Ekong, Semi Ajayi and Calvin Bassey.

Ola Aina and Zaidu Sanusi also kept their places as wing-backs, and Frank Onyeka and Alex Iwobi occupied the middle of the park.

In the attack, Victor Osimhen, Lookman and Moses Simon were tasked with unlocking the defence of the Angolans.

Ademola Lookman puts Super Eagles ahead vs Angola

The Super Eagles made an impressive start to the game and were on the ascendency for much of the opening half hour.

Clear-cut chances were, however, far and far between both teams, although players from both sides were guilty for missing some of the half-chances that came their way.

Nigeria’s persistence finally paid off in the 41st minute with a great passage of play that saw Simon break away before the winger’s cutback located Lookman, who blasted the ball into the net.

The second half began in a similar fashion to the first, with Nigeria pouring more forward in search of a cushion second goal.

Nigeria beat Angola in AFCON 2024
Photo by Icon Sport

Super Eagles eliminate Angola from AFCON 2024

Iwobi went close to doubling their lead after being set up by Osimhen, but the Fulham midfielder’s effort deflected wide. Sanusi was next to go close but his shot was way off target.

Angola’s biggest chance of the second half came against the run of play when substitute Zini was put through on goal and despite beating Nwabali, his effort hit the post.

Osimhen, who was unfortunate to have his goal ruled out for a marginal offside, and Lookman both had decent chances late in the game but were let down by a combination of poor finishing and resolute defending by their opponents.

Nwabali had one last save to make to preserve the score as Nigeria held on to record a 1-0 victory against Angola, which send the Palancas Negras packing from the tournament.

What this AFCON result means for the Super Eagles

By beating Angola, Nigeria have now booked their place in the semi-final of AFCON 2024, where they’ll face the winner of the other quarter-final game between Cape Verde and South Africa.

Meanwhile, the Palancas Negras’s journey in the tournament has come to an end despite their gallant efforts.  

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Emmanuel Ayamga

Emmanuel Ayamga is an African sports writer, with bylines on DW, Al Jazeera, World Soccer Magazine and These Football Times.