Super Eagles Soar, Defeat ‘Stubborn Antelope’ To Reach Semi- Final

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Super Eagles Soar, Defeat ‘Stubborn Antelope’ To Reach AFCON Semi-final

The Super Eagles of Nigeria have qualified for the semi-final of the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Ivory Coast.

A first-half goal from Ademola Lookman secured the spot for Nigeria in a 1-0 win over Angola at the Felix Houphouet-Boigny Stadium in Abidjan on Friday.

The performance against Angola was not identical to the complete domination of Cameroon in the quarter-final, but the Super Eagles did what was needed to push themselves closer to the AFCON trophy.

Jose Peseiro, the Super Eagles head coach, retained his compact 3-4-3 formation with William Troost-Ekong, Semi Ajayi, and Calvin Bassey to shield Stanley Nwabali in goal.

Ola Aina and Zaidu Sanusi started on the right and left flanks as wing-backs, while Alex Iwobi and Frank Onyeka combo slotted into the midfield.

Victor Osimhen led the attacking line with Moses Simon and Ademola Lookman on either side of his.

The biggest news before the match was Nwabali’s fitness. He was injured during the game against Cameroon, and there is concern about him featuring against Angola.

He passed a late fitness and was called into action a few minutes after the kickoff. Nwabali was alert to stop a close-range tap-in from Mabululu to save Nigeria from an early heartbreak.

It was all Nigeria from then on, and Osimhen was a perpetual aerial threat, forcing Signori Antonio, the Angolan goalkeeper, to early saves.

But in the 41st minute, the deadlock was finally broken. Moses Simon beat Gaspart with pace before setting up a clean cutback for Lookman at the edge of the box. The Atalanta striker dispatched the final shot into the roof of the net to send Nigeria ahead.

The strike was Lookman’s third goal of the tournament.

In the second half, Osimhen thought he had doubled Nigeria’s lead. He headed home from a Simon Moses cross. But the goal is ruled out for offside after VAR review.

Nigeria held on to a nervous lone-goal victory and will play the winners of the match between South Africa and Cape Verde in the semi-final.

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By Abia ThinkTank

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