In a thrilling finale, the elephants of Côte d’Ivoire outmaneuvered Nigeria with a 2-1 victory to seize the 2023 African Cup of Nations on their home soil. The host nation secured a dramatic win, overcoming early setbacks to emerge triumphant in a fiercely contested final.
The match saw a captivating exchange of goals, with Nigeria taking the lead in the 38th minute through Troost Ekong’s well-placed header. However, Côte d’Ivoire refused to relent, with Franck Kessie restoring parity in the 62nd minute. The decisive moment arrived in the 81st minute when Sebastian Haller’s header sealed the fate of the Nigerian team, propelling Côte d’Ivoire to glory.
Côte d’Ivoire’s journey to the championship was marked by resilience and determination. Despite stumbling in their group stage matches, suffering defeats against Nigeria (0-1) and Equatorial Guinea (0-4) after an initial victory over Guinea Bissau (2-0), they rallied to secure a spot in the round of 16 as one of the third-best placed teams.
Their path to the title was paved with dramatic victories, exemplified by their nail-biting shootout win against Senegal in the round of 16 after a 1-1 draw. In the quarter-finals clash against Mali, they once again demonstrated their flair for late-game heroics, netting a crucial equalizer in the 90th minute before clinching victory in extra time.
The semi-finals witnessed another display of their resolve as they overcame the challenge posed by DR Congo with a solitary goal, securing their place in the final showdown against Nigeria.
This historic triumph marks Côte d’Ivoire’s third AFCON title, cementing their status as a powerhouse in African football.