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HomeInternational CompetitionsAfrica Cup of NationsNigeria 1-2 Ivory Coast: Haller the hero as Elephants seal AFCON title

Nigeria 1-2 Ivory Coast: Haller the hero as Elephants seal AFCON title

Hosts Ivory Coast came from behind to beat Nigeria 2-1 and claim their third Africa Cup of Nations title thanks to Sebastian Haller’s winning goal.

Ivory Coast won the Africa Cup of Nations after coming from behind to defeat Nigeria in the final at the Alassane Ouattara Stadium. They became the first host who has managed to win this tournament since Egypt in 2006.

After scoring the winner in the semi-final win over Congo, Sebastian Haller scored the second goal in the final. Haller’s career was halted in 2022 after he was diagnosed with cancer.

This was the second meeting between the sides at this year’s tournament, with Nigeria prevailing 1-0 in Group A. Ivory Coast suffered two defeats in the group stage and fired its manager Jean-Louis Gasset as a result. Nigeria were unbeaten in their previous 22 matches in the competition when scoring first.

They appointed Emerse Faé as caretaker coach, giving him his first managerial role at the senior level, and now are champions of Africa for a third time. Each of the Elephants’ four previous finals had finished goalless and gone to a penalty shootout.

The Super Eagles strike first in the final!

Ivory Coast had a good chance to score in the 34th minute when Kessie picked out Adingra with a throughball. Adingra had so much space, but his shot was blocked by Nwabali at his near post.

It was Nigeria who opened the scoring in the 38th minute in the final. Captain Troost-Ekong beat Aurier to meet the ball from a corner and sent his header into Yahia Fofana’s top-right corner.

Ivory Coast could score the equalizer at the start of the second half. A heavy spell of pressure culminated in Nwabali parrying Adingra’s cross straight to Gradel, whose goalbound drive was blocked by Bassey.

Sebastian Haller seals comeback win

The host nation equalized in the 62nd minute through Kessie. Adingra sent his corner to the far post, where Kessie climbed to head past Nwabali from just outside the six-yard box.

Haller could score in the 74th minute after Adingra gave him the ball. However, his spectacular overhead kick went wide of the target.

Ivory Coast was rewarded for its positive second-half performance and scored the second goal in the 81st minute. Adingra went past his marker down the left flank before delivering a cross to the near post, where Haller beat his man to poke the ball past Nwabali.

Sam Barton
Sam Barton
Sam Barton fell in love with football during the 98 World Cup and has been fascinated by it ever since. The tactical side of the game is what truly inspires him to think, read and write about football, making him the ideal football writer.
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