The Super Eagles of Nigeria will square up to the Sable Antelopes of Angola in a crunch 2023 AFCON quarter-final encounter on Friday evening at the Stade Félix Houphouët Biogny.

Nigeria defeated the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon 2-0 last Saturday to reach this stage, with Ademola Lookman netting twice to see the three-time champions cruise to the next round. On the other hand, the Palancas Negras knocked out Namibia to secure a 3-0 win to advance to the last eight and record their first knockout victory in the competition’s history.

Of a fact, the Eagles have grown into the competition game-by-game. In the opening game against Equatorial Guinea, they were held to one-all draw. In the following game against tournament hosts Ivory Coast, they fortunately bounced back with a surprise 1-0 win.

Jose Peseiro’s boys then closed out the group stage unbeaten with another 1-0 win in the showdown clash with Guinea-Bissau as they finished 2nd with 7 points, only edged on goal difference by Equatorial Guinea.

Angola held 2019 champions, Algeria to draw 1-1 in their first game before defeating Mauritania 3-2 and claiming a 2-0 win over Burkina Faso to top their group.

Eagles’ goalkeeper Stanley Nwabali, who was stretchered out in the second half of Nigeria’s 2-0 over Cameroon after an awkward collision with Georges-Kevin N’Koudou, will need to pass a late fitness test to feature in Friday’s game.

Coach Peseiro, in the press conference on Thursday afternoon, confirmed that shot-stopper will be in goal provided he comes through Thursday’s final training session unscathed. Regardless, the Nigeria trainer is unfazed and confident any replacement will step up to the challenge.

“Stanley [Nwabali] will have a late fitness test today before a final decision will be reached. If not, I will play Francis [Uzoho]. I have confidence in my players, including Ojo [Olorunleke].”

The clash will be the 11th meeting between both sides with their previous encounter being a goalless draw in Abuja in 2012.

Nigeria have won only two of their meetings, drawn six and lost two.

Nigeria appears to be the favourite given their recent run of form and an impressive defense compactness – conceding the least number of goals (1) at the tournament so far.

Although the Angolans are no pushover as they lead the chart with the most goals scored at the competition with 9 goals, the Eagles will have a look of work to do to contain them especially from set-piece, as they have scored from a set-piece in each of the previous three games.

That said, the odds slightly favour Nigeria as they seem to have formed a habit of winning and keeping a clean sheet while at it.

February 2nd, 2024
6:00pm (West African Time)
Stade Félix Houphouët Biogny, Abidjan

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