Nigeria, Angola battle for CHAN semifinal spot

Photo: CAF
Photo: CAF

Nigeria will go head-to-head with Angola for a place in the 2018 African Nations Championship (CHAN) semifinals when they lock horns at the Stade Ibn Batouta in Tangier on Sunday.

The Super Eagles booked their place in the last eight as Group C winners. Nigeria were held to a goalless draw by Rwanda in their opening game of the tournament, but wins over Libya (1-0) and Equatorial Guinea (3-1) sealed their progression.

Palancas Negras finished second in Group D, two points behind Congo-Brazzaville who take on Libya for a place in the semifinals.

Angola, though, are also unbeaten in the tournament and are yet to concede a goal, while their only goal came from the penalty spot in a 1-0 win over Cameroon.

Nigeria head coach Salisu Yusuf was delighted with his team’s performance against Equatorial Guinea. The West African’s were 1-0 down at the break, but goals from Anthony Okpotu, Ekundayo Ojo and Rabiu Ali sealed a come-from-behind victory.

“We passed a great test of character and the team should be commended,” said Yusuf.

“The goal by Equatorial Guinea stunned us because we did not expect it. But good enough we fought back in the second half to win.”

Captain Ikechukwu Ezenwa emphasized the fact that Nigeria need to take their chances if they are to advance into the next round.

“We have to play to win and we hope to take our chances,” Ezenwa added.

“We are looking forward to our next game, we hope to be in the semifinal. The solidarity and the spirit in the team have carried us this far and we hope to continue to work hard,” he concluded.

The winner will take on either Sudan or Zambia for a place in the final of this year’s continental competition hosted in Morocco.

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