The Nigeria Super Eagles experienced heartbreak as Cote d’Ivoire staged a comeback to win the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) final match 2-1 on February 11, 2024.
William Troost-Ekong broke the deadlock for the Super Eagles in the 38th minute of the AFCON final, stunning the home crowd at the Stade Alassane Ouattara in Abidjan with a powerful header.
Despite Nigeria’s lead, it was evident that Cote d’Ivoire had been dominant in the opening half-hour, creating numerous scoring opportunities. However, the resilient Super Eagles defense, led by goalkeeper Stanley Nwabali, thwarted their efforts, ensuring Nigeria went into halftime with a 1-0 advantage.
In the second half, Cote d’Ivoire intensified their pressure in search of an equalizer. Their persistence paid off in the 62nd minute when Franck Kessie nodded in a corner-kick to level the scores at 1-1.
Although William Troost-Ekong had a chance to restore Nigeria’s lead, heading over the crossbar from a free kick by Ademola Lookman, it was Cote d’Ivoire who continued to dominate possession for much of the remaining 70 minutes.
In the 81st minute, Sebastien Haller capitalized on a cross, stabbing the ball into the net to give the hosts a 2-1 lead.
Despite Nigeria’s attempts to find an equalizer, Cote d’Ivoire held on to secure their third AFCON title, much to the delight of the vociferous home crowd.
With the final whistle, Cote d’Ivoire celebrated their victory, having emerged from the group stage as one of the best third-place teams to ultimately claim the championship title of the 2023 AFCON.