2023 AFCON: Ademola Lookman fires Nigeria into semi-finals with win over Angola

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Nigeria won the most recent of their three continental titles in 2013, and are the highest-ranked side remaining at the finals in Ivory Coast

A first-half goal from Ademola Lookman was enough to help Nigeria overcome Angola and reach the semi-finals of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations.

The former England Under-21 winger emphatically converted a cut-back from Moses Simon four minutes before the break in Abidjan.

The 1-0 scoreline flattered Angola, who were second best for long periods of the game, and Nigeria striker Victor Osimhen had a 75th-minute header ruled out for offside by the video assistant referee (VAR).

Angola’s best chance fell to Zine, who rolled the ball against the base of the post when clean through on goal just before the hour mark.

Nigeria will now face the winner of Saturday’s quarter-final between Cape Verde and South Africa (20:00 GMT) in the last four next Wednesday.

If possible, the humidity inside the Felix Houphouet-Boigny Stadium appeared to have gone up another notch from previous games at the finals but both sets of players gave their all despite the conditions to entertain what ended up being a near-capacity crowd.

Angola carved out the first chance of the game, as Super Eagles goalkeeper Stanley Nwabali tipped Mabululu’s effort away following Gilberto’s flick-on from a corner.

But the Palancas Negras showed little intention of over-attacking in the first period, preferring to sit deep and soak up pressure before launching counter-attacks.

The tactic worked well to limit their opponents until just before half-time, when Simon was the architect of Lookman’s goal.

The Nantes man timed his run well to win the ball ahead of the sliding Kialonda Gaspar and surged down the left flank before showing a cool head to look up and pick out his fellow winger’s late run into the area.

Lookman, who now has three goals in the knockout stage, applied the calm side-footed finish.

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