Ivory Coast roar to AFCON 2024 glory after subduing Nigeria in the final

The Elephants of Ivory Coast have been crowned African champions after a 2-1 come-from-behind win over Nigeria’s Super Eagles at the Stade Allasane Quattara Stadium in Abidjan.

Franck Kessie and Sebastien Haller scored for the Ivorians in the second half to cancel out William Troost-Ekong’s first-half goal.

There were wild celebrations after the final whistle as the Ivory Coast's Cinderella story became complete in what has been an amazing turnaround for the team.

Having been on the brink of elimination in the group stages – placing third in Group A – they have managed to navigate their way to lift the 2024 Africa Cup of Nations.

Ivory Coast dominated possession for large spells of the first half and put the Super Eagles under intense pressure.

Simon Adingra was a constant threat to the Nigerian backline and threatened when he sent an inviting ball into the area in the seventh minute, but Haller's failure to connect meant the chance was wasted.

Adingra's effort a minute later equally evaded the target as the 2015 champions continued their ascendancy.

ICONSPORT_659_1000511195
Photo by Icon Sport

With the clash heating up, Super Eagles head coach Jose Peseiro got booked for contesting a refereeing decision in the 28th minute.

Ivory Coast's sustained push almost paid off in the 34th minute when Adingra found space on the left and unleashed a left-footed ferocious shot, but the in-form Stanley Nwabali was handy to conjure a great save.

Nigeria take the lead vs Ivory Coast

Despite being restricted to defending in the first half, the Super Eagles found the breakthrough via captain Troost-Ekong's header in the 38th minute after the Elephants failed to clear their lines from a corner kick.

Ivory Coast
Photo by Icon Sport

The Ivorians pushed for the equaliser, but Seko Fofana's attempt was saved by Stanley Nwabali just before the break as the Super Eagles took a 1-0 lead.

As play resumed, Ivory Coast pressed on in the opening minutes and forced Nigeria's goalkeeper Nwabali to punch Adringa's dangerous ball, while Calvin Bassey blocked Max Gradel's follow-up.

Ivory Coast comeback completed vs Super Eagles

The equaliser finally came in the 62nd minute through Kessie's gorgeous header, a moment that sparked wild jubilation inside the Alassane Ouatarra Stadium.

Just when many thought the game was heading to extra time, Sebastien Haller scored the winner with a brilliant finish off Simon Adringa's cross to hand Ivory Coast their third Africa Cup of Nations crown.

Nigeria's late resurgence could not count for anything as Emerse Fae's team completed a memorable tournament where they finished third in Group A to qualify as one of the four best third-placed teams.

Nigeria XI

Nwabali, Aina, Sanusi, Bassey, Ekong, Ajayi, Onyeka, Osimhen, Chukwueze, Iwobi, Lookman

Ivory Coast XI

Yahia Fofana, Konan, Seri, Seko Fofana, Kossounou, Kessie, Gradel, Aurier, Ndicka, Haller, Adingra

Ivory Coast roar to AFCON 2024 glory after subduing Nigeria in the final
Andrew Randa

Andrew Randa is a seasoned Africa sports journalist, and a former Media Officer for Nigeria's U-20 national team. He is widely acknowledged as an authority on the NPFL and African football, Randa is esteemed for his expertise in football content creation. Furthermore, he holds the distinction of being Nigeria's foremost sports kit designer and a trailblazer in the realm of sports graphics in Nigeria.