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Angola's AFCON journey ends in quarter-final heartbreak for fans

Angolan fans after their national team's defeat by Nigeria during AFCON 2023 in Côte d'Ivoire, Febuary 2, 2024.   -  
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Reporting from the midst of Angolan fans, their day concluded in mixed emotions as the national team's journey came to a halt in the quarter-finals against a formidable Nigerian side that showcased impressive skill and strategic play.

Despite the Palancas Negras' aspirations to etch their mark in AFCON history, Nigeria proved to be a formidable opponent, securing a 1-0 victory in a hard-fought match.

Angola, ranked 117th in the world, had defied expectations by winning their group ahead of reigning 2019 champions Algeria and Burkina Faso. However, their dream of reaching at least the semi-finals was dashed by the resilience of Nigeria.

The 1-0 scoreline brought disappointment to the Angolan fans, who had been convinced that their team could overcome this stage. Reflecting on the loss, one fan expressed, "It's a total disappointment, it's very disappointing... We lost and now the adventure ends here, we are going home, hopefully the players don't lose hope and can learn from this performance so that next time we can come back even stronger."

The journey to the quarter-finals had been a remarkable one for Angola's Palancas Negras. Topping Group D, which included strong teams like Algeria, Burkina Faso, and Mauritania, the Angolans surprised football enthusiasts by eliminating their neighbors Namibia with a convincing 3-0 victory in the round of 16. 

The stellar performance, led by players like Gelson Dala and Mabululu, had instilled confidence among the Angolan people, creating a sense of hope that their team could make history by defeating Nigeria.

Unfortunately, that hope was not realized, marking the end of Angola's run in the 34th edition of the Africa Cup of Nations. Despite the disappointment, fans expressed gratitude for the team's efforts and look forward to future tournaments with the anticipation of stronger comebacks.

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