AFCON 2023: Heartbreak! Ivory Coast defeat Nigeria to become African champion for a 3rd time

Sebastien Haller celebrating the winner against Nigeria || Image credit: Imago

AFCON 2023: Heartbreak! Ivory Coast defeat Nigeria to become African champion for a 3rd time

Faruq Ibrahim 23:04 - 11.02.2024

Ivory Coast's special story at AFCON 2023 came to a fairytale ending after they came from behind to beat Nigeria and win the Cup of Nations.

Host nation Cote d'Ivoire came from behind to win 2-1, breaking Super Eagles hearts to become African champions.

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Emerse Fae's side, after having suffered a defeat to Nigerian in the group stage, enacted a delicious revenge against the Super Eagles at the packed Stade Olympique Alassane Ouattara, to lift their third AFCON title.

How it happened 

The Ivorians charged out of the gate, dominating the early exchanges as they pegged the Super Eagles back and created a couple of half chances. 

Nigeria soon steadied themselves and became a force in the encounter, but Ivory Coast still enjoyed more of the ball and had more attempts, albeit tame ones, that were comfortable for Stanley Nwabali to handle. 

It was the Super Eagles who broke the deadlock in the AFCON 2023 final against the run of play with a thumping header that flew past Yahia Fofana and nestled at the back of the net. 

Cote d'Ivoire hustled for an equaliser before half-time, but Nigeria held on.

The hosts started the second-half like a house on fire, peppering the Super Eagles goal with wave after wave of attacks. 

Nigeria continued to cope under intense pressure until the inevitable, a little after the hour mark. Adingra had been a thorn on the right side of Nigeria's defence, and it was the young Brighton and Hove Albion winger who delivered an inch-perfect cross to Franck Kessie for the equaliser, beating the caugh-out Nwabali. 

Buoyed by the home crowd, the Ivorians did not relent after the equaliser, and in the 81st minute, Adingra delivered another accurate cross into the boss, which was flicked into the goal by Sebastien Haller to send a dagger through the hearts of the Super Eagles faithful.