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Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Nigeria 1 – 2 Ivory Coast

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Hosts Ivory Coast accomplished one in all Africa Cup of Nations’ most memorable comebacks to be topped champions of Africa for a 3rd time as Nigeria had been overwhelmed 2-1 in Abidjan.

Nigeria captain and former Watford centre-back William Troost-Ekong headed the Tremendous Eagles in entrance in opposition to the run of play on the Stade Olympique Alassane Ouattara (38).

Franck Kessie rose on the far submit to satisfy Simon Adingra’s nook to deservedly degree issues (61).

Ivory Coast appeared set for an early exit after they misplaced their ultimate group recreation 4-0 to Equatorial Guinea however scraped by means of to the knockout section earlier than beating Senegal, Mali and DR Congo.

However Sebastien Haller met one other Adingra cross to beautifully flick dwelling the winner (81) for his most essential second in an Ivory Coast shirt.

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It was a poignant second for the previous West Ham striker, who has battled again from being identified with testicular most cancers in 2022 and can now go down in historical past amongst all Ivorians after their third AFCON triumph.

Picture:
Franck Kessie celebrates Ivory Coast’s equaliser

Participant scores

Nigeria: Nwabali (7); Ajayi (6), Troost-Ekong (8), Bassey (6); Aina (5), Onyeka (7), Iwobi (6), Zaidu (7); Chukwueze (6), Osimhen (5), Lookman (6).

Subs: Yusuf (6), Aribo (n/a), Iheanacho (n/a), Simon (n/a), Moffi (n/a).

Ivory Coast: Y Fofana (6); Aurier (7), Kossounou (7), Ndicka (7), Konan (6); Kessie (8), Seri (7), S Fofana (7); Gradel (7), Haller (8), Adingra (8).

Subs: Singo (6), Diakite (6), I Sangare (n/a), Lazare (n/a), Krasso (n/a).

Man of the match: Sebastien Haller.

An AFCON triumph born from adversity

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Sebastien Haller places Ivory Coast 2-1 up within the AFCON ultimate in opposition to Nigeria

It isn’t usually you qualify out of your group because the fourth of 4 greatest third-placed sides, sack your coach and find yourself together with your title on the trophy. However that is the Africa Cup of Nations, a contest that’s unrivalled in the case of drama and the unbelievable made attainable.

It was a triumph born from adversity because the Ivorians scraped out of their group following two defeats earlier than discovering their kind within the knockout rounds with a never-say-die angle that led them to the title.

Staff information

  • Nigeria made two alterations from the semi-final in opposition to South Africa. Zaidu Sanusi changed Vibrant Samuel at wing-back and Samuel Chukwueze got here in for Moses Simon on the best wing.
  • Ivory Coast additionally made two switches. The captain Serge Aurier and Odilon Kossounou changed Wilfried Singo and Willy Boly in defence.

Ivory Coast appeared out on their ft after they had been trounced 4-0 by Equatorial Guinea. They wanted favours elsewhere. They needed to squeeze previous the holders Senegal on penalties. In opposition to Mali, they wanted a late equaliser and their semi-final victory over DR Congo was by the narrowest of margins.

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William Troost-Ekong places Nigeria 1-0 up within the AFCON ultimate in opposition to Ivory Coast

And but, in entrance of a partisan crowd of 60,000, there was a way of inevitability that this magical journey on dwelling soil would have its fairytale ending. With Haller, the hosts hit their excessive level.

Troost-Ekong’s header gave Nigeria a first-half lead as he rose to satisfy Samuel Chukwueze’s flick-on from a nook, however Kessie equalised simply previous the hour-mark after being left unmarked on the again submit from a set-piece.

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Franck Kessie makes it 1-1 within the AFCON ultimate between Ivory Coast and Nigeria

The Ivorians needed to come from behind a number of occasions within the event and did it once more when Haller steered Adingra’s cross into the online, a lot to the delight of his rookie coach Emerse Fae, who had began the event as assistant to sacked Frenchman Jean-Louis Gasset.

Eighteen months in the past, Haller was confronted with the combat of his life having been identified with testicular most cancers.

As he was embraced by Ivory Coast legend Didier Drogba on the touchline on the ultimate whistle as his nation’s match-winner, it was exhausting to not really feel moved by his personal private journey that had reached its zenith.

Apart from their purpose, Nigeria didn’t flip up as star striker Victor Osimhen toiled within the sweltering situations. A fourth AFCON title slipped by means of their fingers because the night time belonged to Ivory Coast.

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