Nigeria Super Eagles suffered heartbreak as Cote d’Ivoire came from behind to win the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) final match 1-2 on February 11, 2024.
It was William Troost-Ekong who headed the Super Eagkes ahead in the 38th minute of the AFCON final to silence the home crowd at the Stade Alsssane Oauttara in Abidjan.
That goal was a tough pill for Emerse Fae tutored Cote d’Ivoire, as it was not a true testament of the opening half-hour.
The Ivoriens produced the best chances of the half-hour but could not find a way past the resillient Super Eagles defence with goalkeeper, Stanley Nwabali making a crucial save to keep his team in the game.
Half-time finished with Nigeria leading 1-0.
In the second half, Cote d’Ivoire mounted pressure in search of an equaliser.
In the 50th minute, a low cross into the Nigerian penalty area was punched onto the leg of Gradel who shoots and has his effort blocked inside the six yard box by Calvin Bassey.
The Ivorien pressure did pay of in the 62nd minute when Franck Kessie headed home from a corner-kick to level scores 1-1.
William Troost-Ekong came close to restoring Nigeria’s lead when he headed over the crossbar from a free kick by Ademola Lookman.
For 70 minutes, it was the hosts who dominated possession, with the Eagles content sitting back to defend.
Cote d’Ivoire forward Sebastien Haller saw his audacious back flip fly wide off target as they pressed hard to get the winner.
The winning goal arrived in the 81st minute when Sebatien Haller stabbed home a cross to put the hosts 1-2 ahead.
Nigeria tried to find a way back but Cote d’Ivoire, backed by the voiceferous crowd held on to claim their third AFCON title.
At the full-time whistle, it was party time for Cote d’Ivoire who emerged from the group stage as one of the best third place teams to be crowned champions of the 2023 AFCON.