Classic 2-0 win by Nigeria over Cameroon to set up quarterfinal clash with Angola who beat Namibia 3-0

* The Super Eagles’ Ademola Lookman scored two and was named Man of the Match

* Angola’s Jacinto Dala was involved in all three goals and was also voted Man of the Match

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Ademola Lookman was the hero as Nigeria beat Cameroon 2-0 in the CAF Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) Côte d’Ivoire 2023 Round of 16 clash between the continental heavyweights last night.


The result sends Nigeria into a quarter-final clash with Angola, who beat fellow Confederation of Southern African Football Association (COSAFA) member, Namibia in the other Round of 16.

In front of a vibrant crowd at the Felix Houphouët-Boigny Stadium in Abidjan, Cameroon started brightly with Zambo Anguissa finding Karl Toko Ekambi, but the striker’s shot was blocked by William Ekong.

Nigeria thought they had taken an early lead when Lookman’s 9th minute corner was turned in by Ajayi, but VAR disallowed it for offside but the Super Eagles did break through in the 36th minute after Victor Osimhen pounced on a defensive mistake to set up Lookman, who finished coolly past Onana.

Cameroon were unable to deal with Nigeria’s intensity and conceded again just before full time when Lookman latched onto his own through ball before slotting home to make it 2-0.


In post match interview, Cameroon’s coach, Rigobert Song said he had a youngest squad, whose are just discovering their experience: “We gave the opponent the opportunity to put us in difficulty — it’s part of the game.

“As I’ve said before, we are in reconstruction — it’s by making these mistakes that we will grow. Football is like that. The AFCON is a competition that is played on all levels: technical, tactical, and especially mental. I have a youthful that is discovering; it played, and we still have a lot to learn.”

On his part Nigeria’s coach José Peseiro said: “We will now focus on our next match against Angola, which is having an excellent tournament.

“We must take this opponent seriously, so we will continue to sleep early and eat pasta (laughs). Jokes aside, all the teams at this stage are capable of winning the tournament.”

With their clinical victory in an AFCON  heavyweight bout, Nigeria show they have the quality and experience to potentially end their long wait for a fourth continental title — but should surely be wary of Angola.

Jacinto Dala

A brace from striker Jacinto Dala and the third from Mabululu helped the Palancas Negras of Angola reach the quarter-finals for the first time in 14 years and controlled the Round of 16 tie from the outset against the tournament underdogs, Namibia

The Brave Warriors were handed a major advantage when Angola goalkeeper Neblu was sent off for handling outside his area in just the 14th minute.

The tone was set by Bethuel Muzeu, crafting the first clear-cut chance. Exploiting a loose pass near Angola’s 18-yard box, Muzeu executed a lob, initiating a one-on-one with goalkeeper Neblu.

Neblu’s attempt to save, extending beyond the 18-yard box, resulted in his expulsion from the game but despite being down to 10 men, Angola continued to dictate play and opened the scoring through Gelson Dala following good work from Gilberto and Fredy.


Namibia’s task was made even more difficult shortly after when defender Lubeni Haukongo received a second booking for a foul on Mabululu and Angola pounced on the resulting free-kick as Jacinto Dala powered home a header to double the lead before the break.

With Namibia chasing the game in the second half, gaps started to appear and Jacinto Dala turned provider to set up substitute Mabululu for Angola’s third.

Mabululu maintained his composure to slot home from the edge of the box and cap off an excellent attacking performance from the Palancas Negras.

Namibia coach, Collin Benjamin acknowledged that they started very good and that the turnaround was the sending off of the Angolan goalkeeper: “In my experience in football, this is a situation you wouldn’t want to be in because after the red card the opponent will come in stronger thinking they are a man down, it is basically a soccer lesson.

“And obviously within the situation, you get a 1-0, you get 2-0, 3-0 so in the end I think it’s a well-deserved win to Angola. Congratulations to them but I think as a Namibian, it’s a bitter pill to swallow but we have to keep our heads up.

“We have to look forward — if you just think about it tomorrow morning, you will realize it took us 26 years to record our first victory in the AFCON. We came here in 1998, and in 26 years, we past the group stage to coming to the knockout, so we have to take it step by step.”

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Pedro Gonçalves applauded his Angola charges, saying: “All the matches we have played are different and it comes with different dynamics and we saw that today. It was a difficult game and fantastic at the same time.

“It’s important to keep being resilient and focus on each match as we try to make efforts in each game. I would like to congratulate the team, the staff and everyone in Angola.

“Even if people in the country are having difficulties to go by their duties and work, this victory will put smiles on their faces. Both teams had nothing to lose.

“Against Namibia we went out together with the right strategy and also made a lot of mistakes but we corrected it. After the red card, it wasn’t easy but I asked the players to focus on the task they had to do it on the field and this was the reason we created more chances and kept our calmness and played well at the end.

“When we started people didn’t believe in my plans and even personal things that didn’t have anything to do with work. But I have continued with my objectives and now we are here. I won’t say we are going to win the trophy but we are going to continue to dream.”

Ademola Lookman

Meanwhile, scorer for Nigeria, Ademola Lookman and forward Jacinto Dala for Angola both won the Man of Match accolade — and Lookman said his team-mates’ collective effort is responsible for the Super Eagles’ win as well as his award.

“Wow, we’re so happy to qualify for the quarter-finals — the more we play together, the more fluid we become. I’m standing here now but this award reflects the whole team’s performance.”

The 26-year-old is relishing his first AFCON experience: “I love this atmosphere, it’s incredible. Tonight our fans pushed us to the end because this was Cameroon, and when you wear the Super Eagles shirt, some games resonate more than others.”

On facing Palancas Negras in the quarters, Lookman added: “Angola are a good team. We’ll analyze them and prepare. The further you go, the tougher it gets so we’ll take it game by game.”

Nigeria is searching for their fourth title first since 2013. Lookman’s brace brings them one step closer to ending that drought.

On his part, Man of the Match Jacinto Dala said they deserve qualifying for the quarter-finals and hailed the performance of his teammates: “We had a good performance today — the team deserved this qualification and I’m very happy we made it happen.

“I will say the commitment and the involvement of all the players helped me in winning this man of the match,” he said.

Jacinto Dala has now scored 4 goals in the tournament and is just a goal away from being joint top goalscorer with Emilio Nsue of Equatorial Guinea: “Scoring of goals here is making me happy and I would love to continue in this tournament and getting victories as well,” he said.—Reporting by CAFonline

Emilio Nsue