By Oyediji Oluwaseun Babatunde
Nigeria are through to the semi-final of the Africa Cup of Nations following a 1-0 win over Angola 1-0 in the quarterfinal of the competition in Abidjan on Friday.
Ademola Lookman’s third goal of the tournament dashed the first-ever semi-final dream of the Angolans and ensured the West Africans achieved its 16th semi-final appearance on its 20th campaign on the continent.
Coach Jose Peseiro didn’t make any change to the team that beat Cameroon 2-0 in the quarter-final as goalkeeper Stanley Nwabali made late recovery from his injury after he was stretched off late against the Indomitable Lions.
William Troost Ekong, Semi Ajayi, Calvin Bassey, Zaidu Sanusi, Frank Onyeka, Alex Iwobi, Ademola Lookman, Ola Aina, Moses Simon, and Victor Osimhen retained their spots as starters in the encounter.
The Angolans almost took the lead in the first five minutes of the game when Manululu’s attempt forced Nwabali to an early save.
Nigeria continued struggling to find a breakthrough until the 41st minute from Nigeria’s top goal scorer at the tournament, Lookman as he received a pass from Simon before slotting the ball under the bar.
On return from recess, Pedro Gonçalves’ side almost equalised in the 59th minute when Zini’s effort hit the bar.
Osimhen thought he had doubled the lead for Nigeria in the 75th minute but his header was ruled out for an offside.
With their fourth win after five games and fourth straight clean sheet, Nigeria seal their passage into the semi final.
Nigeria goalkeeper, Nwabali made history by securing Nigeria’s fourth straight clean sheet at the AFCON.
They will face either Cape Verde or South Africa in the semi final of the 24-nation championship.