In a nail-biting encounter at the Felix Houphouet Boigny Stadium on Monday, January 22, Nigeria secured their spot in the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations quarterfinals with a heart-stopping 1-0 win against a determined Guinea-Bissau. The match was filled with intense moments, and an own-goal from Opa Sangante in the 36th minute became the turning point in a dramatic showdown.
The Super Eagles, under the management of Jose Peseiro, clinched the second spot in Group A, trailing behind Equatorial Guinea, who dominated Ivory Coast with a resounding 4-0 victory in a simultaneous clash at the Alassane Ouattara Stadium.
Right from the start, the Super Eagles had the Djurtus on the edge of their seats. Victor Osimhen’s early attempts and Nito Gomes’ threatening strike set the tone for a thrilling contest. Joe Aribo’s shot on target in the 21st minute added to the excitement, but it took a hefty deflection off a defender before reaching Jonas Mendes.
The pivotal moment came in the 36th minute when Sangante’s unfortunate own-goal secured Nigeria’s lead. The tension escalated as Zinho Gano and Osimhen missed crucial chances, and VAR intervened three times, disallowing goals for Nigeria in controversial circumstances.
The rollercoaster of emotions continued with VAR ruling out Osimhen’s goal for handball, and later, two more goals were chalked off due to offside decisions. The drama reached its peak in the closing stages, with Franculino Dju’s disallowed goal and Marciano Sanca’s late attempt to snatch an equalizer.
In the end, Nigeria emerged victorious, but the VAR controversies and missed opportunities added a layer of intensity to the Super Eagles’ journey to the quarterfinals. The African football spectacle continues with Nigeria’s thrilling performance leaving fans on the edge of their seats.