Dala leads Angola into Africa Cup quarters with win over Namibia
ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast (AP) — He was everywhere and he was appreciated.
For a tireless performance, Victor Osimhen's name was chanted by Nigeria fans as the Super Eagles progressed to the quarterfinals of the Africa Cup of Nations by beating old rival Cameroon 2-0 on Saturday.
Ademola Lookman scored both goals, the first created by Osimhen, and the second set up by Calvin Bassey after a free kick in the last minute.
“We’re into the quarterfinals and we’ve worked so hard to be there,” Lookman said. “We’re behind each other and we don’t take anything for granted. And I think it shows in our work ethic, how we fight for each other, how we defend, how we attack. So that’s the way we celebrate.”
No one illustrated that work ethic better than Osimhen. He attacked and harried the Cameroon defenders and helped in defense on the few occasions it was needed.
“Osimhen! Osimhen! Osimhen!” rang around Félix Houphouët-Boigny Stadium after the Napoli star won the ball off defender Oumar Gonzalez after a Cameroon throw-in and set up Lookman in the 36th. The ball squirmed inside the right post despite Gonzalez's attempt to keep it out.
At one stage in the second half, after Osimhen battled lone defender Gonzalez for the ball near the sideline and it went out of play, he lifted his arms to encourage the fans and they responded by chanting his name again.
“It's not easy to stop that guy,” Nigeria coach José Paseiro said. “It's fantastic for a team with very good players, when one good striker can defend like an attack. Sometimes you need to put the ball in, and he'll win the ball, against two or three, and wait for our team to arrive. OK, no one can win a match alone ... it's not easy choosing my team, but it's my life.”
Nigeria goalkeeper Stanley Nwabali went off on a stretcher in the 80th after a reckless challenge from Georges-Kévin Nkoudo, who was booked. Nwabali, who covered his face, was replaced by Francis Uzoho.
Nwabali had had little to do in contrast to his counterpart, Fabrice Ondoa, who was by far the busier goalkeeper. Ondoa was preferred in goal by Cameroon coach Rigobert Song, who again left Manchester United goalkeeper André Onana on the bench.
Song sent Cameroon hero Vincent Aboubakar on for the last quarter-hour but it was Lookman, instead, who sealed the result at the other end.
Aboubakar, who scored the winning goal in the 2017 final and was the top-scorer in the last edition with eight goals, missed Cameroon’s opening three games with a thigh injury.
Nigeria will next play Angola.
SABLE ANTELOPES PROGRESS
Gelson Dala scored twice and set up another goal to fire Angola into the quarterfinals after beating neighbor Namibia 3-0.
Both teams played the second half with 10 players in Bouaké.
Dala, who plays for Al-Wakrah in Qatar, took his tournament tally to four as he helped the Sable Antelopes reach the quarterfinals for the third time.
Angola made the better start but goalkeeper Neblú was sent off in the 17th minute when he stopped Bethuel Muzeu’s attempted shot with his hands just outside the penalty area.
Replacement goalkeeper António Signori went on for midfielder Estrela, who had to give way, and produced a fine save at the bottom right corner to stop Deon Hotto from the resulting free kick.
Despite being a man short, Angola scored through Gelson Dala in the 38th when Gilberto sent Fredy through to give him an easy finish.
It became 10 vs. 10 two minutes later when Namibia’s Lubeni Haukongo was sent off with his second yellow card for a foul on Mabululu.
Dala scored with a header from the resulting free kick.
He set up Mabululu to seal the win on a break in the 66th.
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