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AFCON Quarter-Final: Nigeria battles to conquer Angola under 60 minutes

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The upcoming quarter-final clash between Nigeria and Angola in the ongoing 2023 Africa Cup of Nations, AFCON, promises to be an exciting encounter.……CONTINUE READING>>>

Both teams have displayed skill and determination in the tournament so far, making it imperative for Nigeria to strategize on how to secure a victory within 60 minutes or regular time (90 minutes) and avoid extra time or a penalty shootout.

The match will take place at the Félix Houphouët-Boigny Stadium, Abidjan, beginning at 6 pm, Nigerian time.

Head-to-Head Analysis and Past Records:

Nigeria and Angola have faced each other on multiple occasions in the past, with Nigeria historically having the upper hand.

However, past records should not undermine Angola’s potential, as they have proven themselves to be a formidable opponent in the 2023 AFCON in Ivory Coast.

Nigeria and Angola have met ten times in the past. The Super Eagles have won three, lost two and drawn five against the Black Antelopes.

One of the most memorable clashes between both nations was the second round World Cup Qualifier match (Group C, Italia World Cup), which ended 1-0 in favour of Nigeria on the 12th of August, 1989.

It was reported that during the encounter at the Main Bowl of the National Stadium, Surulere, Lagos, Nigeria’s Samuel Okwaraji slumped on the pitch and died immediately.

The sad incident happened 77 minutes into the match, just 13 minutes to the final whistle. The Nigeria team (then Green Eagles) were thrown into disarray, while the Angola team forgot the competition and joined in the futile attempts to revive Okwaraji.

Thousands of Nigerians who came to cheer Okwaraji to glory left the stadium under a dark cloud of grief, as many would never forget that ominous day.

An autopsy later revealed Okwaraji died from high blood pressure-induced congestive heart failure, which occurs when the heart is unable to provide sufficient pump action to ensure enough blood goes around the body.

Okwaraji, who literally played his heart out for Nigeria, had just signed a $500,000 contract with Belgium club Berchem FC of Antwerp.

Key Players to watch out for in the Angola Team:

Gelson Dala: The Al-Wakrah forward has been impressive for Angola in the tournament so far. He is clinical in front of goal. Dala grabbed a brace against Mauritania as Angola won 3-2 in the thrilling match. He also struck another brace in their 3-0 victory over Namibia in Round 16.

Cristovao’ Mabululu’ Paciencia: The Al Ittihad striker is another key player to watch out for in the Angola team. Just like Dala, Mabululu is also clinical in front of goal. The 31-year-old has scored three goals so far in the tournament against Algeria, Burkina Faso and Namibia.

Past Results for both teams in the 2023 AFCON:

Nigeria won two and drew one out of their three matches against Equatorial Guinea, Ivory Coast and Guinea-Bissau in Group A.

Jose Peseiro’s men also won 2-0 against the Indomitable Lions in the Round of 16.

Angola, on the other hand, won two and drew one of their three matches in Group D against Burkina Faso, Mauritania and Algeria. They top the group with seven points.

The Black Antelopes thrashed Namibia 3-0 in Round 16.

Speaking on Monday, Audu Ojo, the head coach of Dawaki Rangers, revealed how Nigeria can secure victory against Angola within regular time.

He also highlighted the areas the three-time African champions need to improve ahead of the encounter with the Black Antelopes.

“To secure a victory within 60 minutes, Nigeria must exploit Angola’s vulnerabilities and execute an aggressive yet composed game plan.

“Utilizing the pace of Moses, Lookman and Osimhen and also capitalizing on set pieces could be pivotal.

“Quick ball circulation, smart positioning, and clinical finishing will be essential to break down Angola’s resolute defence,” he said.

Ojo added, “Nigeria needs to improve their finishing in front of goal to capitalize on opportunities. They also need to tighten their defensive structure because it would be crucial to nullify Angola’s counter-attacks.

“Dominating the midfield battle will provide the Super Eagles with a platform for sustained attacks because Angola has demonstrated a strong defensive setup and efficient counter-attacking strategies. Their cohesion as a team and ability to capitalize on set pieces make them a formidable opponent.

“So, the Super Eagles must be cautious of their disciplined defending and quick transitions.”

“I wish them the best of luck and hope they make Nigerians proud by securing the semi-final ticket,” he further stated.

Also speaking, Alpha Markus Sidi, Wakanda FC midfielder, said the Super Eagles need to identify and exploit the weaknesses in the Angola team in order to stand a chance to get a victory within normal time and avoid extra-time.

“Nigeria should exploit weaknesses in the Angola team. The Super Eagles should identify potential battles in midfield, defence, and attack. If they do this, it could influence the outcome of the match,” Sidi said.

“However, while history may favour Nigeria, underestimating Angola would be a mistake. The Super Eagles must approach the match with focus, adaptability, and a commitment to executing the strategies I mentioned earlier in order to secure a decisive victory within regular time.

“Finally, Nigeria must try to score first. If they score first, they could end up scoring one or two more goals,” he said.…CONTINUE.FULL.READING>>>

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