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AFCON 2023: Lookman strikes again as Nigeria ease into semifinals

Ademola Lookman’s third goal of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations sent Nigeria past Angola into the semifinals with a 1-0 victory on Friday in Abidjan. The Atalanta forward scored towards the end of the first half for the Super Eagles who put an end to Angola’s excellent run at the quarterfinal stage. Nigeria awaits the winner of Saturday’s quarterfinal match between South Africa and Cape Verde for a semifinal date on February 7.

It could have been a much different story for the Nigerian team, who escaped a major scare inside the opening five minutes. A well executed Angolan corner kick saw a service from captain Fredy that found Gilberto at the near post, who flicked his header to a wide open Mabululu for a volley that was kept out by a reaction save from Super Eagles goalkeeper Stanley Nwabali.

Nigeria gradually seized control over the course of the first half and the speed of the Nigerian attack was influential in creating the lone goal of the match in the 41st minute. A pass into space from left wing back Zaidu Sanusi found Moses Simon, who just beat Angola central defender Kialonda Gaspar to the ball and took off towards the end line. Simon got his head up and crossed for an open Lookman to fire past Angola keeper Antonio Dominique from eight yards out.

Angola’s best opportunity to equalize came in the 59th minute when midfielder Show won the ball and sent a defense-splitting through pass to find the run of Gelson Dala, whose low shot beat Nwabali but came back off the post before being cleared out of play. Nwabali was called into action again in the 89th minute when the Chippa United custodian pushed away a long range effort from Zito Luvumbo but the Super Eagles were able to hold on for victory without too much trouble.

Highlights from the first quarterfinal will be posted below when available.

Match Highlights

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