Ivory Coast 2-1 Nigeria Highlights | AFCON

Sebastien Haller clinched victory for the host nation, Ivory Coast, with a decisive goal nine minutes before the final whistle, securing their third Africa Cup of Nations title with a hard-fought 2-1 win over Nigeria. The electrifying match unfolded at the Alassane Ouattara Stadium in Abidjan on Sunday.

This triumph wasn’t without its challenges. The Ivorian team had a shaky start, barely making it out of the group stage after suffering two defeats, one of which was a humiliating 4-0 loss to Equatorial Guinea. However, they found their stride in the knockout rounds, displaying resilience and determination that ultimately led them to glory.

Nigeria took the lead in the first half with William Troost-Ekong’s header from Samuel Chukwueze’s corner flick-on. But Ivory Coast fought back, equalizing through Franck Kessie’s goal just after the hour mark. The decisive moment came when Sebastien Haller connected with Simon Adingra’s cross, sending the home crowd into jubilation.

The victory was particularly poignant for Haller, who overcame testicular cancer in 2022 to become a pivotal player for Ivory Coast. His journey symbolizes the fighting spirit of the team, who became the first host nation since Egypt in 2006 to lift the Cup of Nations.

Ivory Coast controlled much of the game, with Adingra’s efforts denied by Nigeria’s goalkeeper Stanley Nwabali. Despite Nigeria taking the lead, Ivory Coast pressed forward, eventually securing the win through Haller’s goal.

Nigeria’s coach, Jose Peseiro, acknowledged Ivory Coast’s superiority on the day, admitting his team didn’t perform at their best. It was a disappointing end for Nigeria, but Ivory Coast’s resilience and determination rightfully earned them the title.

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