Home Sports AFCON 2023 Sebastian Haller scores late winner for Ivory Coast in AFCON 2023 final

Sebastian Haller scores late winner for Ivory Coast in AFCON 2023 final

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Sebastien Haller was the hero for Ivory Coast again as the Elephants came from behind to beat Nigeria and win the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations final on home soil.

The striker, who had also netted the semi-final winner, flicked in Simon Adingra’s cross with the toe of his boot with nine minutes remaining to complete a second-half comeback and spark wild celebrations in Abidjan.

William Troost-Ekong had put Nigeria ahead seven minutes before the end of a cagey first half when the centre-back rose highest to powerfully head in from nine yards out following a corner.

Franck Kessie nodded in the equaliser in the 62nd minute when he was left unmarked at the back post from Adingra’s corner.

After a remarkable run to the final, the Ivorians clinched a third continental title with a deserved victory.

The West Africans add to their previous Nations Cup wins in 1992 and 2015 and become the first tournament hosts to triumph since Egypt lifted the trophy in 2006.

Interim coach Emerse Fae masterminded Ivory Coast’s passage through the knockout stages, which included dramatic victories over defending champions Senegal and Mali after late equalisers in both games.

The Elephants pick up $7m (£5.54m) in prize money, with Nigeria handed $4m by the Confederation of African Football.

Nigeria, three-time continental champions themselves, had previously been unbeaten at the finals, including a 1-0 win over the Ivorians in the group stage, but the Super Eagles rarely imposed themselves after sitting back for most of the contest.

The tournament, which was delayed from its intended staging in June and July last year because of weather concerns in West Africa, will live long in the memory after a record number of goals, unrelenting upsets and an apparent capacity for unceasing drama.

Ivory Coast become the 12th-host nation to win the Nations Cup title, while Nigeria will be left to rue a fifth defeat in the showpiece game – and their second in Abidjan after losing to Cameroon in 1984.

 

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