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AFCON 2023: Nigeria’s Super Eagles battle Palancas Negras of Angola in first ever Nations Cup clash for Semi final slot

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The rejuvenated Nigeria’s Super Eagles will today, Friday 2nd February, 2024 at the Felix Houphouet-Boigny Stadium square up against the Palancas Negras of Angola in the first quarter-finals of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations

Despite being African’s football powerhouses, this will be the first-ever encounter between Nigeria and Angola at the Africa Cup of Nations. Nigeria and Angola last clashed in January 2018 at the African Nations Championship when the Super Eagles won 2:1 after extra time in the quarter-final. Palancas Negras of Angola’s last victory against Nigeria came in a World Cup qualifier in June 2004, which ended 1-0.

Road to the Quarter Finals

The Super Eagles of Nigeria sealed their place in the quarter-finals of the 2023 AFCON on the back of a rich run of form,  with only one draw in four matches including laying a marker by defeating the host nation, Cote D’Ivoire. Though not a free scoring side, the Super Eagles defense marshalled by the trusted Vice Captain of the team, Williams Troost Ekong have been rock solid, conceding just one goal in the tournament so far with three clean sheets.

Angola booked their ticket for the Round of 16 as winners of Group D which had Algeria that were shockingly eliminated, finishing bottom of the group. Unlike Nigeria, Angola seems to be a free scoring side, scored nine goals so far at the AFCON. This could pose a serious threat to Coach Paseiro’s side.

The Super Eagles defeated old rivals, the indomitable lions of Cameroon in the round of 16 while the Palancas Negras eliminated Namibia to make history by recording a first victory in the tournament’s knockout stage.

Super Eagles Bookmakers’ Favorite’s Tag

Pundits and bookmakers have tipped the Super Eagles are favourites to win the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations following the exit of the continent’s big names like Morocco, Egypt, Senegal, Ghana etc

FIFA Rankings

With the elimination of Morocco who were exceptional at the last World Cup in Qatar, Nigeria are the highest-ranked side in the competition. Angola are the lowest-ranked team (117th) left at AFCON 2023 and will be out to cause one of the biggest shocks in recent memory at the tournament.

After a decent point to open AFCON 2023 against Algeria (1-1), Angola have now built up a three-game winning run at the tournament with victories over Mauritania, Burkina Faso and Namibia, but this tie with Nigeria is by far their biggest test yet.

Nigeria’s Quarter Finals Record

Nigeria are playing in their 11th AFCON quarter-final match, no team has ever played in more games at this stage of the competition except for Ghana, Ivory Coast and Tunisia also 11. Nigeria have won their last three AFCON games without conceding, but never won four consecutive matches in a single edition without conceding a goal. Angola have won their last three matches at the AFCON.

Angola have won their last two AFCON matches without conceding, but never kept three consecutive clean sheets in the competition.

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