AFCON 2024: Four BIG lessons from Super Eagles 1-0 defeat of Angola

AFCON 2024: Four BIG lessons from Super Eagles 1-0 defeat of Angola
Credit: Icon Sport

The Super Eagles of Nigeria booked their place in the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations semi-finals after a hard-fought victory over the Black Sable Antelopes of Angola on Friday evening.

Both teams displayed bravely at Stade Felix Houphouet-Boigny in Abidjan with a spot in the last four up for grabs.

However, it was Nigeria who made the most of their opportunities to come out 1-0 winners in the fiercely contested battle where Ademola Lookman's 41st minute strike sealed a semi-final spot for the three-time AFCON winners.

Here are four of the big lessons drawn after the affair ended in Nigeria's favour

Super Eagles 1-0 Angola: What we learned

Ademola Lookman is enjoying his AFCON debut

Ademola Lookman in action for Nigeria
Credit: Icon Sport

Making his AFCON debut in Ivory Coast, Lookman has starred brilliantly for Nigeria. He bagged a brace against Cameroon in the Round of 16 last Saturday to equal the goal record (two) set by the duo of Sunday Mba and Emmanuel Emenike in the knockout stage of the AFCON.

On Friday night against Angola, Lookman etched his name in the annals of Nigerian AFCON history as he became the fourth Super Eagle to achieve the feat of netting three or more goals during the knockout phase of this competition.

The Atalanta man is enjoying his finest moments in the green-white-green of Nigeria and has now scored 5 international goals.

Stanley Nwabali with a breathtaking save

The Chippa United goalkeeper was in imperious form for Nigeria in the encounter against the Sable Antelopes. Stanley Nwabali made one of the biggest saves of the tournament just four minutes into the affair to deny Angola what looked like a sure goal. He made two crucial saves in the battle.

With Nigeria's one nil win, Nwabali has now kept 4 clean sheets in Ivory Coast, one more than the chasing pack of goalkeeping clean sheets.

Another brilliant team performance

Peseiro's men put up back-to-back knockout stage performances, ideally of potential AFCON champions, as they showcased defensive solidity and game time management to see off the game.

The understanding from every department of the team stood out in the entire duration of the game and this sort of gives you the confidence in concluding that Super Eagles are improving in every match of the Africa Cup of Nations.

Super Eagles players in action during 2023 AFCON
Credit: Icon Sport

The Super Eagles needed a bit of luck

While the team played well in the game with several moments of extending their lead, we will not fail to mention that they needed a little bit of luck to keep the clean sheet.

The Black Sable Antelopes struck the bar in the second half in one of the most beautiful passages of play in the encounter to keep the score in Nigeria's favour and add bite to the statement “every title winning team needs a little bit of luck”.

Next up for the Super Eagles in AFCON 2024

The Nigeria Super Eagles team will next play the winner of the Cape Verde/South Africa match tomorrow.

With a fourth AFCON trophy on the line for Peseiro's men and a “Let's Do It Again” action phrase as motivating factors, there's a palpable feeling the team will do all it takes to make their first final appearance since 2013.

This article was most recently revised and updated 3 weeks ago

Joseph is a graduate engineer turned sports writer, he has covered lots of sports stories, match previews and predictions across various leagues on the planet.