Ivory Coast Clinches AFCON Championship, Defeating Nigeria 2-1

Ivory Coast coach Emerse Fae toasted his team of “miracle survivors” after the host country completed one of the greatest turnarounds in major tournament history to win the Africa Cup of Nations by beating Nigeria 2-1 in Sunday’s final.

“It is more than a fairytale. I am struggling to take it all in,” Fae said after Ivory Coast recovered from behind at half-time at the Ebimpe Olympic Stadium to win thanks to goals by Franck Kessie and Sebastien Haller.

Sebastien Haller’s late goal secured a stunning comeback victory for hosts Ivory Coast, This triumph marks their third continental title, completing a remarkable tournament turnaround.

Nigeria seemed poised to replicate their 1-0 victory over Ivory Coast at the Ebimpe Olympic Stadium during the group stage, with captain William Troost-Ekong – who had scored a penalty in that initial encounter – heading in the opener late in the first half.

Nevertheless, Franck Kessie equalized just after the hour mark, and Haller converted Simon Adingra’s cross in the 81st minute, prompting jubilant celebrations among the orange-clad fans in the Abidjan stands.


Ivory Coast’s triumph in this year’s final adds to their titles won in 1992 and 2015, and also brings their total Africa Cup of Nations victories to three, matching Nigeria’s record.

Only Egypt, Cameroon, and Ghana have more titles than Nigeria, who missed the chance to match Ghana’s four victories.

With reigning African player of the year Osimhen leading the charge, Nigeria had seemed the strongest team in the tournament.

However, Ivory Coast’s determination proved too much, making them the first host nation to win the AFCON since 2006.

Didier Drogba captained the Elephants in Cairo 18 years ago when they lost on penalties to Egypt. This time, he watched as a spectator, witnessing his country’s remarkable victory.

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