AFCON 2023: Angola Coach Goncalves Discloses How He Will Break Nigeria’s ‘Stubborn’ Defence Down

AFCON 2023: Angola Coach Goncalves Discloses How He Will Break Nigeria’s ‘Stubborn’ Defence Down

Godwin Nii Armah Tagoe
updated at February 1, 2024 at 3:41 PM
In this article:
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Nigeria logo
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Super Eagles
South Africa
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  • Angola manager Pedro Goncalves is confident ahead of the Nigeria clash
  • Goncalves is optimistic his side can break Nigeria's defence down
  • The Super Eagles have the best defensive record at the 2023 AFCON

Angola's head coach, Pedro Goncalves, has outlined his strategy for breaking down Nigeria's impermeable defence ahead of their AFCON quarterfinal clash on Friday, February 2.

The Palancas Negras have been a surprising force in the tournament, reaching the quarterfinals for the first time since 2010 after a convincing 3-0 victory over Namibia in the round of 16.

Angola, Nigeria, AFCON 2023, Pedro Goncalves, quarterfinal
Angola head coach Pedro Goncalves has shed light on how he will breach Nigeria's defence in the quarterfinal. Photos by Haykel Hmima/Anadolu and KENZO TRIBOUILLARD.
Source: Getty Images

Goncalves' team emerged as the top scorers in the last 16, boasting a tournament-high of nine goals from four matches.

However, their next challenge is against Nigeria, a formidable opponent that has conceded only one goal in the entire tournament, kept three clean sheets in their last three games, and is pursuing its fourth continental trophy, per The Analyst.

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According to the Olympics, Equatorial Guinea's Iban Salvador remains the sole player to breach Nigeria's watertight defence, with the Super Eagles keeping clean sheets in their last three AFCON games.

As the stage is set for an intriguing matchup between the two teams, Goncalves has shared insights into how his prolific attack plans to overcome the defensive wall of the West African giants.

"The team [Nigeria] appears very strong for tomorrow's game," the Portuguese tactician said of the Super Eagles team at their pre-match press conference.

Recognising Nigeria's standing as a football powerhouse in Africa, the 47-year-old swiftly emphasised the strengths of his own team.

"We [Angola] are one of the squads to have scored more goals, and we are one of the squads that have conceded fewer goals."

He also mentioned how his team could navigate through the seemingly impenetrable defence of the three-time African champions.

"Nigeria has a cohesive side and are a well-organized team, physically fit, and well-coordinated.
"But we also have a strong point and quality. To date, we've been very efficient. We hope to implement our DNA. I'm not going to display our strategy of play, but we know our opponents."

Cameroon star cautions Angola

In anticipation of the upcoming clash between Nigeria and their Central African counterparts, Sports Brief reported that Cameroonian striker Karl Toko Ekambi has issued a clear message to Pedro Goncalves' Angola.

The 31-year-old forward, whose Cameroon team was eliminated from the AFCON by the Super Eagles, shared his insights on the formidable Nigerian team led by coach Jose Peseiro.

Ekambi warned Angola to be cautious of the Super Eagles, emphasising that a well-organized team like Nigeria is challenging to defeat.

Godwin Nii Armah Tagoe photo
Godwin Nii Armah Tagoe
Godwin Nii Armah Tagoe is a Ligue 1, Bundesliga, and La Liga editor with five-year experience. He previously worked with Sports Corna and 360SportsGH.