Ivory Coast vs Nigeria AFCON 2024: Super Eagles upset Elephants

Nigeria squared off against Ivory Coast on Thursday January 18, in what was a must-win for the Super Eagles.

José Peseiro's men were third on the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON 2024) Group A table, after Equatorial Guinea's 4-2 victory over Guinea-Bissau.

Despite being the underdogs, it was the Super Eagles who reigned supreme, thanks to William Troost-Ekong's spectacular penalty.

Stalemate at the half-time break

As expected, both teams came out all guns blazing, with the defences trying to keep each other in check. Although the first half ended goalless, there was plenty of action, as both teams registered at least six shots.

The Ivorians had most of the ball in the first half (60% possession), three of their six shots went on target, but Chippa United's Stanley Nwabali made some fine saves, denying them their first goal.

On the other hand, the Super Eagles lacked efficiency in front of goal. While they had more shots (7) than the Elephants, none of those shots went on target.

Peseiro's side also won the set-piece battle, as Nigeria had five corners to Ivory Coast's two.

Ivory Coast vs Nigeria review AFCON 2024
Photo by Icon Sport

Troost-Ekong nets the winner for Super Eagles

The Super Eagles' fortunes improved in the second half. Just a few minutes into the half, Ousmane Diomande fouled Napoli's Victor in the penalty box.

Of course, this had to be checked by VAR, and after a couple of minutes, the Super Eagles were awarded the penalty. Calm and composed, Nigeria's captain Troost-Ekong converted from the spot.

The PAOK defender has now scored in three consecutive AFCON events. He's Nigeria's top-scoring defender in this competition.

The Ivorians tried – to no avail – to get back on level terms. The Super Eagles' defence proved to be too much for them, as none of Ivory Coast's seven second-half shots went on target.

The Super Eagles claimed all three points in a tightly-contested fixture, a well-deserved victory.

What this result means for Super Eagles at AFCON 2024

As it stands, Nigeria are currently second on the Group A table. They've accumulated four points from two matches so far, with a +1 goal difference.

Peseiro's men are tied on points with group leaders Equatorial Guinea, but behind on goal difference.

On the other hand, Ivory Coast have dropped to third on the table with four points. They'll have an opportunity to salvage their Nations Cup campaign when they face Equatorial Guinea in the third round.

The Super Eagles will take on Guinea-Bissau in their final group game on Monday January 22.

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Kelechi Udoka

Kelechi is an avid Enyimba fan who enjoys writing about the beautiful game. He has written thousands of articles for a few publications over the years.