Super Eagles soars into AFCON 2023 quarter final

Super Eagles soars into AFCON 2023 quarter final

The Super Eagles of Nigeria took on their arch-rivals, the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon, in a high-stakes game for a place in the quarter-finals.

With Angola beating the Brave Warriors of Namibia 3-0 earlier, the two teams already know their opponent in the quarter-final.

Ahead of the game, there were complaints about the performance of the Super Eagles in the group stage and a call for improvement to overcome the Cameroonians. The Super Eagles were tipped to beat Cameroon by their former manager Gernot Rohr.

Super Eagles coach Jose Peseiro stuck to the same formation he used in the game against Ivory Coast and Guinea Bissau, sticking to a familiar lineup.

The only player missing was Alhassan Yusuf, who returned to the bench.

The Super Eagles beat Cameroon 2-0 to book a quarter-final place against the Palancras Negras of Angola.

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Super Eagles led Cameroon 1-0 in the first half
Photo by Icon Sport

The Cameroonians started the game with intent. They took the game to the Super Eagles but had their initial attack rebuffed by the Nigerian defence.

Peseiro was true to his word and had his team lined up with defensive solidity in mind. Meanwhile, the Cameroonians kept a close eye on Victor Osimhen.

The early exchanges were end-to-end, with Nigeria showing more attacking impetus. 

The Super Eagles thought they had taken the lead in the ninth minute, but the referee ruled it off for offside.

The goal caused a scare for the Cameroonians, but they settled after that and tightened up at the back. Victor Osimhen was the centre of Cameroonian attention.

While the Cameroonian side was trying to build up play from behind, the Super Eagles were content to frustrate their attack and hit them on the counter.

With the half winding close to a close, the hardworking Osimhen harried a Cameroonian defender, won the ball and squared a fine assist to Ademola Lookman, who hit a goalbound shot.

Fabrice Ondoa tried to keep it out but managed to help it in.

The Super Eagles continued to hold tight at the back as they showed a determination missing in the Cameroonian side.

Despite the setback, Cameroon continued probing but met a resilient Nigerian defence. Nigeria also gave the Indomitable Lions problems at the back, but their boisterous tackles saw them breaking up the Super Eagles' counterattacks.

The first half ended 1-0 with Nigeria one foot in the quarter-final.

Ademola Lookman on the double

Super Eagles defender Troost-Ekong marshalled a tight defence
Photo by Icon Sport

The Super Eagles started the second with a simple plan – to consolidate what they had and unleash the firepower of Osimhen.

The Cameroonian side struggled to cope with Peseiro's strategy as solid defending frustrated the Indomitable Lions.

While Nigeria was building an impenetrable wall at the back, Osimhen was having a rough time at the other end as the Cameroonian defenders kept niggling at his feet and committing fouls off the Napoli striker.

It looked the only way they could stop Osimhen, as he was a handful for them. Every time he tried to make something happen, they found a way to stop him.

Despite Cameroon dominating possession, with a quarter of an hour to go, they had not gotten a shot on target.

Nigerian fans became nervous in the 73rd minute when Stanley Nwabali was subbed off for Francis Uzoho due to injury.

The Cameroonian age-old tactic of physical play and fouls was taking its toll on the Super Eagles.

In the 78th minute, Cameroon brought on veteran striker Vincent Aboubakar for Oumar Gonzalez. Peseiro responded two minutes later by introducing Kenneth Omeruo for Zaidu Sanusi.

Nigeria ensured the game was done when Ademola Lookman received a sweet pass in the box from Calvin Bassey after a beautifully worked free kick in the 90th minute.

Nigeria v Cameroon Lineups

Nigeria:
Stanley Nwabali, Semi Ajayi, William Troost-Ekong, Calvin Bassey, Ola Aina, Frank Onyeka, Alex Iwobi, Zaidu Sanusi, Moses Simon, Ademola Lookman, Victor Osimhen

Subs: Terem Moffi, Kenneth Omeruo, Raphael Onyedika, Kelechi Iheanacho, Chidozie Awaziem, Ahmed Musa, Francis Uzoho, Samuel Chukwueze, Bright Osayi-Samuel, Paul Onuachu, Alhassan Yusuf, Joe Aribo

Cameroon:
Fabrice Ondoa, Jean-Charles Castelletto, Christopher Wooh, Oumar Gonzalez, Nicolas Moumi Ngamaleu, Olivier Ntcham, André-Frank Zambo Anguissa, Nouhou Tolo, Karl Toko Ekambi, Georges-Kevin N’Koudou, Frank Magri

Subs: Devis Epassy, Faris Moumbagna, Harold Moukoudi, Darline Yongwa, Olivier Kemen, Ben Elliott, Enzo Tchato Mbiayi, Vincent Aboubakar, Junior Tchamadeu, Yvan Neyou, Clinton N'Jie, André Onana

Nigeria v Cameroon Stats
  Nigeria Cameroon
Shots on target 3 0
Shots off target 2 2
Blocked Shots 2 3
Possession (%) 43 57
Corner Kicks 2 0
Offsides 4 0
Fouls 18 16
Throw ins 23 16
Yellow cards 2 2
GK saves 0 1
Goal kicks 8 5

This article was most recently revised and updated 4 weeks ago

Chooka Izuegbuna is a Sports Journalist with 20 years of experience in print, TV and Radio. He has worked with some of the top media houses in Nigeria, including NTA Network, Channels TV, TVC, Silverbird TV and MITV. Chooka broke his sports reporting teeth with The Game Football Weekly in 2003 as a cartoonist and reporter.