2023 AFCON: Côte d’Ivoire beats Nigeria as they host and win

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The 2023 Africa Cup of Nations final between Ivory Coast and Nigeria delivered a thrilling match, with Ivory Coast emerging victorious with a 2-1 win over Nigeria in Abidjan.

Sebastien Haller, who battled testicular cancer 18 months prior, played the hero by scoring the winning goal in the 81st minute.

Despite Nigeria taking the lead through captain William Troost-Ekong in the first half, Ivory Coast fought back determinedly. Franck Kessie equalized with a header from a corner just past the hour mark, setting the stage for Haller’s decisive flick late in the game.

The victory for Ivory Coast is remarkable considering their challenging journey to the final. They barely made it to the knockout stage as the final qualifying team and had even fired their coach along the way. However, under interim boss Emerse Fae, they embarked on an improbable run that culminated in lifting the trophy.

Nigeria, known for their defensive solidity throughout the tournament, found themselves under constant pressure from Ivory Coast’s relentless attacks and ultimately couldn’t prevent the Elephants from securing the victory.

Overall, the final was a fitting conclusion to a tournament filled with late drama, with Ivory Coast emerging as deserving champions.

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