A 41st minute goal from Ademola Lookman was enough for Nigeria to clinch a quarterfinal win. Angola created plenty of chances, but the Super Eagles dug-in to keep the clean sheet and move on to the semifinals for an impressive 16th time.
It was a frantic opening 35-minutes to the quarterfinal clash. Frank Onyeka had the game’s first shot on target in the opening minute. And it only took a handful of minutes for Angola to create their own chance as Mabululu’s close-range shot forced a save from Nigeria’s Stanley Nwabili.
Victor Osimhen also saw two headers saved by Signori Antonio.
The Super Eagles eventually found the opener after a counter down the left wing in the 41st minute. Moses Simon placed the perfect pass to an on-rushing Lookman who made no mistake firing into the back of the net.
Simon and Lookman combined for the only goal of the game
The hot, humid, and high-tempo first 45-minutes ended with Nigeria up 1-0. But the break didn’t slow Nigeria’s pace as they came out just as energetic in the second half. Angola, for their part, weren’t sitting back and made an attacking substitution at the break by replacing a defensive midfielder, Estrela, with a forward, Zini.
Angola looked sure to equalise in the 59th minute, but Zini’s shot smashed the right post and unluckily bounced directly to Nigeria’s William Troost-Ekong to clear.
Despite waves of pressure from Angola, Nigeria’s defence remained resolute.
Nigeria thought Osimhen doubled their lead with a strong header in the 75th minute, only for it to be chalked-off as offside by VAR. A well-worked counterattack gifted Osimhen yet another golden opportunity in the 81st minute, but he was again denied by the Angola goalkeeper.
Despite plenty of energy and creative play from Angola, they could not found an equaliser. Both sets of players looked absolutely drained as the final whistle blew at Stade Félix Houphouët-Boigny.
What next for Nigeria?
The Super Eagles will face either Cape Verde or South Africa next Wednesday, 7 February. They will learn which of the two sides after tomorrow’s 20:00 GMT quarterfinal.
Feature image credit: Ben Sutherland