AFCON 2023: Nigeria win classic over Cameroon to storm quarter-finals

Abidjan, (CIV): Ademola Lookman was the hero as Nigeria beat Cameroon 2-0 in the TotalEnergies CAF Africa Cup of Nations Côte d’Ivoire 2023 Round of 16 clash between the continental heavyweights on Saturday.

In front of a vibrant crowd at the Felix Houphouët-Boigny Stadium in Abidjan, Cameroon started brightly with Zambo Anguissa finding Karl Toko Ekambi, but the striker’s shot was blocked by William Ekong.

Nigeria thought they had taken an early lead when Lookman’s 9th-minute corner was turned in by Ajayi, but VAR disallowed it for offside.

The Super Eagles did break through in the 36th minute after Victor Osimhen pounced on a defensive mistake to set up Lookman, who finished coolly past Onana.

Cameroon were unable to deal with Nigeria’s intensity and conceded again just before full time when Lookman latched onto his own through ball before slotting home to make it 2-0.

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The result sends Nigeria into a quarter-final clash with Angola, while Cameroon exit at the last 16 stage.

With their clinical victory in a TotalEnergies CAF AFCON  heavyweight bout, Nigeria showed they have the quality and experience to potentially end their long wait for a fourth continental title.

Rigobert Song, Cameroon’s Coach speaking after the loss said; “We had the youngest team; there are players who are discovering. We gave the opponent the opportunity to put us in difficulty; it’s part of the game. As I’ve said before, we are in reconstruction.”

He added; “It’s by making these mistakes that we will grow. Football is like that. The AFCON is a competition that is played on all levels: technical, tactical, and especially mental. I have a youthful that is discovering; it played, and we still have a lot to learn.”

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José Peseiro, Nigeria’s Coach was full of praise for his side saying; “We will now focus on our next match against Angola, which is having an excellent tournament. We must take this opponent seriously, so we will continue to sleep early and eat pasta (laughs). Jokes aside, all the teams at this stage are capable of winning the tournament.”

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