The 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) quarterfinals heat up with a clash between continental giants Nigeria and surprising contenders Angola on Friday night. Kick-off at the Felix Houphouet Boigny Stadium is at 5 PM GMT.
Nigeria, riding a wave of confidence after their dominant 2-0 victory over Cameroon in the Round of 16, enters the match as clear favourites. Their impressive run has seen them keep three clean sheets in four games, conceding only once while scoring five goals. This marks their 11th appearance in the AFCON quarterfinals, solidifying their status as tournament veterans.
However, despite their ranking as the highest-placed team remaining after the exits of giants like Senegal,Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Egypt, Nigeria cannot afford to underestimate their opponents. Angola, the lowest-ranked team left at 117th, have defied expectations with their own impressive run. They have won three of their last four AFCON games, showcasing their attacking prowess with nine goals scored. Their victory over Namibia in the Round of 16 further bolstered their confidence, marking their first quarter-final appearance since hosting the tournament in 2010.
Historically, the encounters between these two teams have been evenly matched. Their last three meetings resulted in two draws and one Angolan victory, with their most recent clash ending in a goalless stalemate in 2012. This will be the first time they meet in the Africa Cup of Nations, adding another layer of intrigue to the already exciting matchup.
The stakes are high. The winner faces either Cape Verde or South Africa in the semi-finals, just steps away from continental glory. Nigeria seeks to solidify their dominance, while Angola dreams of an incredible upset.