AFCON2024: Nigeria vs Angola – Preview, Team news, Head-to-head, Predictions
The Super Eagles of Nigeria will face the Sable Antelopes of Angola in a crucial 2023 AFCON quarter-final match on Friday evening at the Stade Félix Houphouët Biogny.
Nigeria advanced to this level after defeating Cameroon’s Indomitable Lions 2-0 last Saturday, with Ademola Lookman scoring twice to lead the three-time winners to the next round. On the other side, the Palancas Negras defeated Namibia 3-0 to advance to the last eight and earn their first knockout victory in the competition’s history.
Indeed, the Eagles have improved with each game they play against the competition. They were forced to a 1-1 draw in their first encounter against Equatorial Guinea.
They thankfully recovered with a surprising 1-0 victory against tournament hosts Ivory Coast in the next game.
Jose Peseiro’s side then concluded the group stage unblemished with a 1-0 win over Guinea-Bissau, finishing second with 7 points, trailing only Equatorial Guinea on goal difference.
Angola tied 2019 winners Algeria to a 1-1 draw in their first game before overcoming Mauritania 3-2 and beating Burkina Faso 2-0 to win their group.
Stanley Nwabali, the Eagles’ custodian who was stretchered off in the second half of Nigeria’s 2-0 victory against Cameroon due to an uncomfortable collision with Georges-Kevin N’Koudou, will need to pass a late fitness test to play on Friday.
In a news conference on Thursday afternoon, Coach Peseiro affirmed that the shot-stopper will be in goal if he makes it through Thursday’s last training session. Regardless, the Nigerian trainer is undeterred and certain that any substitute would up to the occasion.
“Stanley [Nwabali] will undergo a late fitness test today before a final decision is made. If not, I’ll play Francis [Uzoho]. I am confident in my guys, notably Ojo [Olorunleke].
The match will be the 11th between the two teams, with the previous meeting ending in a goalless draw in Abuja in 2012.
Nigeria has won only two of their meetings, drawing six and losing two.
Nigeria seems to be the frontrunner based on their recent form and remarkable defensive tightness, having conceded the fewest goals (1) in the competition thus far.
Although the Angolans are no pushovers, as they lead the tournament with the most goals scored (9), the Eagles will have a lot of work to do to restrict them, particularly from set-pieces, as they have scored from set-pieces in each of the previous three games.
However, the odds favour Nigeria somewhat since they appear to have developed a habit of winning while maintaining a clean sheet.
DATE, TIME AND VENUE
February 2nd, 2024
6:00pm (West African Time)
Stade Félix Houphouët Biogny, Abidjan
WHERE TO WATCH
Supersport Football (GOtv or DSTV)
Startimes Sports Premium