Ademola Lookman’s first-half goal secured Nigeria’s 1-0 victory over Angola in the last eight on Friday.
Lookman polished off a flying run down the left by winger Moses Simon, who skirted the challenge of defender Kialonda Gaspar to split free and afterward teed up his colleague for his third goal of the competition.
The 26-year-old’s 41st-minute strike at the Felix Houphouet-Boigny stadium was sufficient to book a semi-final game on Wednesday against either the Cape Verde Islands or South Africa, who play their quarterfinal on Saturday February 3.
On record, Nigeria have now qualified for the semi-final in 13 of their last 15 Cup of Nations appearances and been raised to the job of top choices at a competition where practically all the heavyweight competitors have been unloaded out.
Angola had chances, including hitting the woodwork in the 59th minute when substitute Zini was put through by a clever pass that split the defense, but Nigeria came out on top.
Within four minutes, the Angolans, who had never advanced beyond the last eight of previous Cup of Nations competitions, came close to taking the lead. A corner was flicked on at the close to post and Mabululu saw his shot from two yards splendidly saved by Nigeria goalkeeper Stanley Nwabili.
Victor Osimhen had Nigeria’s first clear opportunity halfway through the first half yet his header was excessively near Angola goalkeeper Antonio Dominique.
Nigeria created more chances in the last half of the game with Zaidu Sanusi and Alex Iwobi missing with their shots and Simon slicing inside again to set up an opportunity yet having his work impeded.
It was a baffling night for African Footballer of the Year Osimhen who headed home a 75th-minute freekick but it was ruled offside after a VAR check.
After five minutes, Osimhen was put through by Lookman but delayed his effort and got confiscated by the Angolan defender.
Later on Friday, also in Abidjan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Guinea meet in the second of the quarterfinal matches.