Nigeria will take on an unpredictable Angola side in the Africa Cup of Nations quarter-finals on Friday as they bid to reach the last four for the first time since 2019.
The clash at the Felix Houphouët-Boigny Stadium in Abidjan is the opening fixture of the AFCON last eight.
the Super Eagles dispatched arch rivals Cameroon 2-0 at the same venue in the round of 16 to reach the quarter-finals.
As three-time AFCON winners, Nigeria are expected to have too much quality and experience for their opponents on paper.
Victor Osimhen, recently crowned African Player of the Year, leads a Super Eagles attack along with the in-form Ademola Lookman. They also boast the meanest defence, having conceded just once.
However, Angola will be full of confidence after surprisingly topping Group D unbeaten. This is their first quarter-final since hosting the 2010 tournament.
Led by star striker Gelson Dala, who netted twice against Namibia, Angola have one of the most potent attacks at AFCON 2023 with nine goals in four games.
Dala has warned Nigeria: “We will fight and make life hard for them. With our fans, we believe we can win.”
Angola coach Pedro Gonçalves added: “We respect Nigeria but fear nobody. The pressure is on them as favourites.”
Nigeria boss Jose Peseiro expects a tough test: “Angola are unpredictable with some very dangerous players. We cannot underestimate them.”
This AFCON has been full of surprises, and another could be in store on Friday if revitalised Angola can defy the odds and giants Nigeria.
The kick-off for Nigeria vs. Angola is scheduled for 17:00 GMT.
What they said
Jose Peseiro, Nigeria’s Coach: “It’s a quarter-final match. Both teams want to reach the semi-finals. It will be a tough match; we will bring commitment and sacrifice to try to overcome this great team, even if it’s not a big name, to reach the semi-final.” “Angola is not a big name in Africa, but they play very well. They are not here by luck; they have shown a lot of capability to reach the quarter-finals. Our team has scored 5 goals in 4 matches so far. We will attack with 11 and defend with 11 as well.”
Alex Iwobi, Nigeria’s Midfielder: “We watched the videos. It will be a tough match. They won the last match with a large score, and we also defend well. We will give everything on the field to reach the semi-finals.” “We have to respect Angola a lot. If they are at this stage of the competition, it means they are a great team. We need the entire team to defend. It won’t be easy because it’s a team that scores a lot. I rely on my teammates to meet the challenge.”
Pedro Gonçalves, Angola’s Coach: “This match means a lot for our team and for the entire Angolan nation, which has dreamed for years of seeing the team at this stage of the competition. We will face Nigeria, a great nation in African football… This match is an opportunity to show our worth; we have worked and given our all to reach this level of the competition. I congratulate my team, which has always been dedicated. The match is an opportunity to show that we have evolved.” “We respect Nigeria for what they have demonstrated so far in African football. Currently, Nigeria has a very strong team with players who play in major European leagues, such as the Premier League and Serie A… They use the best playing system to compete in this Africa Cup of Nations.”
Manuel Cafumana, Angola’s Player: “Tomorrow, we will have a match that will allow us to prove ourselves. I am proud of what we have accomplished since the beginning and especially the pride that we currently represent for our country… We will fight against Nigeria as we did in the first four matches. We will play as usual.”
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