The Elephants of Cote d’Ivoire on Sunday won the 2023 CAF African Cup of
Nations final by coming from behind to beat Nigeria 2-1 in the pulsating
finals to deny Nigeria from winning their fourth AFCON title.
Two strikes from Franck Kessie and Sebastien Haller were enough to see off
Cote d’Ivoire took the game to Nigeria from the first whistle to put the Super Eagles
defence in all manner of trouble.
In the 34th minute, Nwabali made a big save to deny Adingra, who latched on to a Frank
Kessie cross, cut in from the left before he fired at goal.
Almost immediately, Zaidu had a sight on goal at the other end of the pitch, but a timely block by Koussonou won Nigeria a corner.
It was from this corner that Nigeria took the lead against the run of play on 38 minutes, when Chukwueze flicked it for captain William Ekong to jump highest to head home.
In the 49th minute, Calvin Bassey somehow cushioned a goal-bound shot for Nwabali to pick up the ball easily.
Nwabali made another big save in the 62nd minute to turn a Koussounou shot for corner
and from that set piece, Kessie headed the equaliser with the Nigerian defence guilty of ball watching.
Sebastian Haller’s spectacular effort in the 74th minute missed the Nigerian goal not by much.
The Borussia Dortmund striker finally made hay in the 81st minute, when he got a foot to an Adingra cross to give his team the coveted trophy.
Super Eagles Starting XI (3-4-3) vs Cote d’Ivoire
Stanley Nwabali – Calvin Bassey, William Ekong (Captain), Semi Ajayi – Ola Aina,
Zaidu Sanusi (Terem Moffi 86), Frank Onyeka (Joe Aribo 86), Alex Iwobi (Alhassan
Yusuf 79) – Ademola Lookman (Kelechi Iheanacho 79), Victor Osimhen, Samuel
Chukwueze (Moses Simon 56)