Lookman fires Nigeria past Cameroon to reach AFCON quarterfinals

Ademola Lookman's brace ensured Nigeria a place in next weekend's Africa Cup of Nations quarterfinals as they beat long-standing foes Cameroon 2-0 in the round of 16 on Saturday.

Lookman's 36th minute goal at the Felix Houphouet-Boigny Stadium opened the scoring and he contributed a second on the stoke of full time as Nigeria largely outplayed Cameroon.

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They will face Angola in the last eight in Abidjan next Friday after the Angolans beat Namibia 3-0 in Bouake earlier on Saturday in the first of the knockout round games.

"We're into the quarterfinals and we've worked so hard to be there," Lookman said. "We're behind each other and we don't take anything for granted. And I think it shows in our work ethic, how we fight for each other, how we defend, how we attack. So that's the way we celebrate."

While Lookman's double made him a key figure in the win, Nigeria's African Footballer of the Year Victor Osimhen proved outstanding with his work rate and drove his team to victory.

"It's not easy to stop that guy," Nigeria coach José Paseiro said. "It's fantastic for a team with very good players, when one good striker can defend like an attack.

"Sometimes you need to put the ball in, and he'll win the ball, against two or three, and wait for our team to arrive. OK, no one can win a match alone ... it's not easy choosing my team, but it's my life."

It was as much as Nigeria deserved, showing much improved form after a largely uninspiring showing in the group phase where they finished second in their section.

Ademola Lookman (L) fired Nigeria into the quarterfinals of the Africa Cup of Nations.
FRANCK FIFE/AFP via Getty Images

Osimhen made the first goal by closing down defender Oumar Gonzalez and robbing him of the ball before unselfishly feeding it to his right to Lookman whose shot was close to goalkeeper Fabrice Ondoa but somehow sneaked under him into the net.

Lookman had an opportunity for a second goal in the 56th minute from a free kick on the edge of the Cameroon penalty area as Osimhen's pace continually troubled the Indomitable Lions.

Lookman set up Ola Aina with a chance in the 85th but it was blocked before a clever passing move with Alex Iwobi and Calvin Bassey saw Lookman finish at the near post in the 90th minute.

Nigeria also had the ball in the net after nine minutes but it was ruled out after a VAR check. Central defender Semi Ojayi was deemed to be offside before snapping up a rebound from close range after Ondoa twice attempted to punch clear from a corner.

Ondoa was again preferred to Manchester United goalkeeper André Onana, left on the bench by Cameroon after his poor performance against Senegal last week.

Nigeria are through to the last eight for the 13th time in their past 14 Cup of Nations finals appearances.

On Sunday, giant-killers Equatorial Guinea play Guinea in Abidjan followed by a meeting in San Pedro between Egypt, without injured Mohamed Salah, and Democratic Republic of Congo.

There are more round-of-16 games scheduled for Monday and Tuesday, including hosts Ivory Coast against Senegal.

Information from Reuters and the Associated Press contributed to this report.