Ivory Coast crowned champions of 2023 AFCON
Sebastien Haller once again proved to be the hero for Ivory Coast as they came from behind to defeat Nigeria and secure victory in the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations final on home turf.
Haller, who had previously scored the winning goal in the semi-finals just over a year after his return from testicular cancer, expertly guided Simon Adingra’s cross into the net with his toe nine minutes before the end. This completed a remarkable comeback in the second half and ignited exuberant celebrations in Abidjan.
Prior to Haller’s heroics, William Troost-Ekong had given Nigeria the lead in the final seven minutes of a cautious first half. The center-back rose highest to head powerfully from nine yards after a corner.
However, Ivory Coast’s Franck Kessie equalized in the 62nd minute, left unmarked at the back post to nod in Adingra’s corner.
Despite a tumultuous journey to the final, which saw coach Jean-Louis Gasset depart after two defeats in the group stage, Ivory Coast secured their third continental title with a well-deserved victory.
Their previous Africa Cup of Nations wins came in 1992 and 2015, and they now join Egypt as the only hosts to win the tournament since 2006.
Interim coach Emerse Fae guided Ivory Coast through the knockout stages, including thrilling triumphs against Senegal and Mali thanks to late equalizers in both matches.
Nigeria, three-time champions themselves, were previously undefeated in the finals, including a 1-0 victory over Ivory Coast in the group stage. However, the Super Eagles struggled to assert themselves after adopting a defensive approach for most of the game.
Therefore, the Super Eagles of Nigeria were tactically defeated by the Ivory Coast Elephants with a score of 2:1, proving that even though Eagles can fly, they were unable to soar in the night.
There is a good reason why you should support the African Editors. Not everyone can afford to pay for news right now. That is why we keep our journalism open for everyone to read, including in Ghana. If this is you, please continue to read for free. But if you are able to, then there are three good reasons to support us today.
1. Our quality, journalism is a scrutinising force at a time when the rich and powerful are getting away with more and more.
2. We are independent and have no billionaire owner pulling the strings, so your money directly powers our reporting.
3. It doesn’t cost much, and takes less time than it took to read this message.
Help power the African Editors' journalism for the years to come, whether with a small sum or a larger one. If you can, please support us on a monthly basis from just 1 Ghana Cedi through mobile money number: 0599896099/ +23359989609 and you can be rest assured that you’re making a big impact every single month in support of open, independent journalism. Thank you.