An irresistible force comes up against an immovable object when Nigeria clash with Angola in an Africa Cup of Nations quarterfinal on Friday evening. Pedro Gonclaves’ Palancas Negras begun Ivory Coast 2023 as rank outsiders – they’re the lowest ranked side left in the tournament – but they have upset the applecart by plundering a tournament high ten goals on the road to the last eight.
Jose Poseiro’s Super Eagles are the highest ranked team still in contention. The three time winners are ranked number 38 in world football governing body Fifa’s rankings, a massive 60 places higher than Angola. The Southern African nation will however draw inspiration from their own group D performances which saw them triumph over Algeria and Burkina Faso which are ranked a combined 95 places above them by Fifa.
Nigeria have only netted five goals in Ivory Coast but they’ve let in a tournament low one goal with the back four of Ola Aina, Zaidu Sanusi, Oluwasemilogo ‘Semi’ Ajayi and William Troost Ekong proving extremely difficult to break down because they are offered excellent protection by Brentford midfield terrier Henry Onyeka.
Poseiro commands even better resources upfront in Atlanta of Bergamo live wire Ademola Lookman, Nice’s Terem Moffi and Napoli hitman Victor Osimhen but the Portuguese born manager know better than to underestimate compatriot Gonclaves’ Palancas Negras, for whom four goal hero Gelson Dala has been in irresistible form.
The contest between Democratic Republic of Congo and Guinea on Friday night is more evenly matched though Sebastian Desabre’s twice winners are more fatigued, having needed extra time and a penalty shoot out to overcome record champions Egypt in the round of 16. Brentford’s Yoane Wissa is the Leopards go to striker whereas Guinea boss Kaba Diawara will be counting on the red hot form of Stuttgart’s Serhou Guirassy.
Nigeria v Angola,
DR Congo v Guinea
Mali v Ivory Coast,
Cape Verde v South Africa