Nigeria upset age-old rivals Cameroon in the round of 16 to improve on their performance at AFCON 2021, while Angola defeated inexperienced Namibia recording a first-ever victory in AFCON's knockout stage. Expectations were low before the Super Eagles' Cup of Nations debut a fortnight ago, but the three-time winners are beginning to dream of a fourth crown, with a 2-0 victory over Cameroon in the final round winning over doubting fans in the West African nation. Ademola Lookman netted a brace in the game, but Victor Osimhen's tenacity was just as vital, despite only scoring once at AFCON 2023 versus Equatorial Guinea. Peseiro's side has benefited from a strong backline that has seen them concede insignificant shots on goal, with the last clear-cut chance made against them coming in their 1-0 victory over Cote d'Ivoire on match day two.
With the bracket opening up after South Africa defeated World Cup 2022 semi-finalists Morocco on Tuesday, Nigeria is expected to achieve victories over Angola and either Cape Verde or South Africa to advance to the final showdown on February 11. They cannot rest on their laurels, since this tournament demonstrates that the gap between traditional heavyweights and emerging nations is shrinking, as evidenced by the unexpected results so far. Angola stands in the way of Nigeria reaching another semi-final, and the southern African nation is unlikely to be easy opponents against the competition's currently top-ranked team.
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