Ademola Lookman‘s brace ensured Nigeria booked its place in the quarter-finals of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Ivory Coast after defeating the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon by 2-0 in the Round of 16 match played at the Felix Houphouet-Boigny stadium on Saturday night.
Lookman’s 36th-minute goal opened the scoring and he added the second goal on the stroke of full time in a match that Nigeria outplayed Cameroon.
Nigeria will face Angola in the last eight in Abidjan next Friday after the Angolans beat Namibia 3-0 in Bouake earlier in the first of the knockout round games.
While Lookman’s double made him a key figure in the win, Nigeria’s African Footballer of the Year Victor Osimhen was also outstanding with his work rate as he drove the Super Eagles to victory.
Here are five talking points and takeaways from the game between Nigeria and Cameroon in the AFCON Round 16 stage.
Poor Cameroon Defense
Rigobert Song Cameroon’s defence made several defensive blunders with two leading to Nigeria’s two goals in the match. Oumar Gonzalez poorly lost possession which led to Nigeria’s first goal. Again, Ademola Lookman was left unmarked inside Cameroon’s box which led to Nigeria’s second goal.
Victor Osimhen Work Rate
Despite registering just one goal and missing several goal-bound chances Victor Osimhen showed how relevant he is to the Super Eagles squad at the 2023 AFCON.
The 2023 Africa Best Player work rate was impeccable as he fought for every ball, mounting pressure on the Cameroonian defenders to make mistakes. Some even start panicking when they see Osimhen approach them to challenge the ball.
Cameroon’s Poor Tactical Display
From the start of the match to the final whistle, the five-time AFCON champions failed to create a clear chance as all their threat was neutralised by Nigeria’s solid defence led by William Troost-Ekong, Calvin Bassey and Semi Ajayi.
Song, Cameroon’s head coach did not show tactical prowess as the Indomitable Lions were just playing like a team that is not well coordinated.
Ademola Lookman Brilliance
Ademola Lookman showed on the night that football is more technical than physical play. While the Cameroonians were busy showing their muscle, the Atalanta winger showed class and brilliance and his effort helped Nigeria send Cameroon out of the 2023 AFCON.
Lookma in recent times had struggled with form but delivered one of his best performances for Nigeria when it mattered most. His position was top-notch, always at the right place and at the right time in the opponent’s box to score two goals that powered Nigeria to the quarter-final stage.
Ageing Cameroon Squad
The defeat could also spell the end of the Cameroon side that won the AFCON in 2017, most of their key players are over 30 years old and lost form. It is time for the Cameroon Football Federation to start a rebuilding process for the team ahead of the 2025 AFCON.