Host nation Ivory Coast have won the Africa Cup of Nations thanks to a 2-1 win over Nigeria in the final at the Stade Olympique Alassane Ouattara.
It is the third time Ivory Coast have won the competition, adding to the titles won in 1992 and 2015 respectively.
It’s been an extraordinary run to the final for the home nation, with the Ivory Coast scraping through from the group stages with just three points having won one of their three games. Those group stage results led to Jean-Louis Gasset losing his job during the tournament and being replaced by Emerse Fae.
Following Fae’s appointment, Ivory Coast played with much more determination and spirit, winning the round of 16 clash with Senegal thanks to a penalty shootout, then knocking out Mali thanks to an extra time winner. The host nation then relied on a single goal from Sebastien Haller to see them through to the final at DR Congo’s expense.
Ivory Coast went behind in the final thanks to a William Troost-Ekong goal, but fought back in the second half through goals from star men Franck Kessie and Haller.
- How the game unfolded
Ivory Coast dominated large periods of the first half, with Simon Adingra causing the Nigerian backline a whole host of problems.
Against the run of play however, it was Nigeria who took the lead through their captain William Troost-Ekong. The defender – sporting eco-friendly football boots – rose highest from a set piece to thump a header into the top corner of the net, making it 1-0 to Nigeria and taking his goal tally to three during the Africa Cup of Nations.
The home nation came out of the traps well in the second half, and came close to drawing level in the 49th minute through Max Gradel. Adingra was once again at the heart of the move, drifting past Semi Ajayi on the left flank before firing low across goal and into the path of Max Gradel. The wide player’s subsequent first-time effort was, rather amazingly, blocked by the unassuming Calvin Bassey just in front of the goal.
Ivory Coast finally got their deserved equaliser on the hour mark through star man Franck Kessie. Once again the goal would come from a set piece, with Kessie ghosting in unmarked at the back post to heading into the bottom corner of the net.
The host nation were the much better side thereafter, with Sebastian Haller growing into the game in the final 20 minutes. The Borussia Dortmund forward sent a warning shot with an acrobatic overhead kick effort which flew just wide, before getting the all-important goal in the 81st minute.
Adingra’s cross into the near post area was met by the outstretched foot of Haller, and sliced into the first right corner of the net.
What we know
- Ivory Coast beat Nigeria 2-1 in the AFCON final
- Haller scored the winning goal
- Brighton’s Adingra starred in the final