How Nigeria beat Angola 1-0 to book Africa Cup of Nations semi-final place thanks to Ademola Lookman’s first-half goal

Ademola Lookman’s first-half goal sent the Super Eagles into the semi-final at 2023 AFCON

Ed Mackey

How Nigeria beat Angola 1-0 to book Africa Cup of Nations semi-final place thanks to Ademola Lookman's first-half goal

(Getty Images)

How it happened: Nigeria 1-0 Angola

When are the other quarter-finals?

When are the other quarter-finals?

(Getty Images)

The second quarter-final gets underway in five minutes’ time as DR Congo face Guinea at the Alassane Ouattara Stadium across Abidjan.

Then, focus switches to tomorrow’s action when the tournaments are in action before the two surprise packages go head to head:

  • Mali vs Ivory Coast – 5pm GMT/12pm ET/9am PT
  • Cape Verde vs South Africa – 8pm GMT/3pm ET/12pm PT

So, when are the semi-finals?

By being the first team into the AFCON semi-finals, Nigeria have the luxury of extra rest.

They will play their semi-final on Wednesday, February 7 at 5pm GMT/12pm ET/9am PT.

And Peseiro’s men will have to wait until tomorrow to find out their opponents in that semi-final as Cape Verde and South Africa meet tomorrow at 8pm GMT/3pm ET/12pm PT.

Score against Nigeria, if you can

Score against Nigeria, if you can

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Coming into this tournament, many expected it to be the Nigeria forwards that would power them into the latter stages of AFCON.

But it has been the defenders.

After conceding in the first half of their first group-stage game against Equatorial Guinea, they have not conceded another goal at the tournament.

They will head into the semi-final with a four-game clean sheet streak.


Nigeria 2-0 Cameroon: Structured defence rather than thrilling attack powering Super Eagles

Full-time stats pack

Here is how the game panned out in terms of statistics:

Nigeria 1-0 Angola

  • Shots: 13 – 10
  • Shots on target: 3 – 2
  • xG: 1.08 – 0.91
  • Possession: 45% – 55%
  • Accurate passes: 262 – 336
  • Corners: 4 – 7
  • Yellow cards: 1 – 3
  • Red cards: 0 – 0

A real Nigerian team performance

A real Nigerian team performance

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That is how you come together as a team to win a major tournament quarter-final.

As the attackers got the business done at one end, the defender locked it down at the other.

And, somewhere in between, the midfielders suffocated their counterparts.

While Peseiro looked hot and bothered on the touchline, I’m sure he will have been very pleased with that performance.

Another busy night for Osimhen

Another busy night for Osimhen

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It was impossible to take your eyes away from Osimhen in that match.

He was either throwing himself in front of defenders to meet crosses, being kicked in the air by those defenders or celebrating (and then not) goals.

He had four shots, scored a goal that was disallowed by VAR, left the pitch on a stretcher, came back on and then got substituted.

The injury that ultimately forced him off didn’t look serious and Nigeria will be desperate to have him fit for the semi-final.

Nothing but respect at full time

Nothing but respect at full time

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After taking time to celebrate their win, a number of Nigeria players went straight over to the inconsolable Angola players.

The winning moment

The winning moment

(Getty Images)

For the second time in a row, Lookman was the hero for Nigeria.

He struck his third goal in two games in the first half and it was that goal that has sent the Super Eagles into the final four.

Exhaustion leads to muted Nigeria celebrations

Nigeria are through to the semi-finals! But there are no wild scenes of celebration like their victory over Cameroon.

This was a grind and some of the players have dropped to the floor exhausted. Nigeria have never completely clicked into attacking gear at this tournament, but it doesn’t matter if they keep progressing.

Another gusty performance from the Super Eagles

While the winning margin was very tight, Nigeria are deserving of their place in the semi-final.

Angola gave it everything, but their opponents just had too much quality.

Lookman’s goal was the difference on the scoreboard, but the Nigeria defenders were superb as they hardly allowed Angola any chances throughout the 90 minutes.

Nigeria are into the Africa Cup of Nations semi-final!

FT Nigeria 1-0 Angola

And Nigeria see it behind for a goal kick.

They are into the semi-final at AFCON again!

Late corner for Angola

90+7 Nigeria 1-0 Angola’

Bassey takes no chances as he puts an Angolan cross behind for a corner…

Nwabili catches Angola cross

90+6′ Nigeria 1-0 Angola

There is a huge smile on Nwabili’s face as he successfully collects a dangerous-looking Angola cross.

He knows, as do his country’s fans, that might be enough to see Nigeria into the semi-final.

Osimhen finally replaced

90+4′ Nigeria 1-0 Angola

I thought Peseiro might burst into flames! The referee was not letting him make a substitution, even though the ball had gone out of play and Peseiro was screaming at the fourth official.

Osimhen finally leaves the action with Onuacho taking his place while Lookman is replaced by Omeruo.

Peseiro going mad on the touchline

90+3′ Nigeria 1-0 Angola

Peseiro is shouting at Osimhen to get back on the pitch!

I have never seen anything like it. He was sat down on the bench with a bottle of water but the referee didn’t stop play for a substitution.

Go and get the stretcher

90+2′ Nigeria 1-0 Angola

For some reason, any time a player goes down injured people come on with a stretcher just to be safe.

It happened to Onyeka and now it’s Osimhen’s turn. Although maybe Osimhen is getting special treatment as one of the stars of this tournament — he is back on his feet within seconds but Onuachu is about to replace him.

Seven minutes added on!

90+1′ Nigeria 1-0 Angola

Angola will have seven more minutes to find an equaliser.

Nigeria will have to see the game out without Osimhen as he has just left the pitch, seemingly with an injury.

Nwabili saves from Luvumbo!

89′ Nigeria 1-0 Angola

As the game reaches its conclusion, Angola are pushing for a late equaliser.

Luvumbo looks the most likely and Nwabili has to be alive to punch away his curling left-footed effort after he had cut in from the right wing.

It has been plain sailing for Nigeria so far, but a busy last few minutes await.

And now Aribo does replace Onyeka

87′ Nigeria 1-0 Angola

Onyeka has finally been replaced by Aribo.

Peseiro shouted at him as he walked off the pitch before giving him a slap on the bum. I’m being deadly serious.

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