• Tuesday, February 27, 2024
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Ivory Coast drown Nigeria’s fourth AFCON hope


Host nation Ivory Coast came from behind to defeat Nigeria 2-1 in the final of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) at the 60,000-capacity Alassane Ouattara stadium on Saturday night.

The Elephants of Ivory Coast ended Nigeria’s hope of winning a fourth AFCON after William Troost-Ekong gave the Super Eagles the lead in the 38 minutes, but Franck Kessie equalised through a powerful header from the corner in 62 minutes of play, Sebastien Haller scored the second for the host nation.

Despite seven minutes of added time in the second half, Nigeria could not rescue their AFCON hopes.

The victory means Ivory Coast completed a remarkable turnaround by becoming the first host nation to win the AFCON title in 18 years.

Haller missed the last edition of the tournament due to a tumour injury and missed the first three games of the 2023 AFCON following an ankle injury.

But he has scored in the semi-final and given his team the lead in the final.

It means that Ivory Coast have matched Nigeria with three AFCON titles.

Ivory Coast eliminated holders Senegal on penalties in the capital Yamoussoukro in the Round of 16, then came from behind to beat Mali 2-1 in Bouake in the quarter-finals, with a winner right at the end of extra time.

After winning the 1980, 1990 and 2013 editions, Nigeria were chasing a fourth AFCON glory but will have to wait for the 2025 edition.