Comeback Kings: Ivory Coast stun Nigeria to win AFCON 2023 final

Sebastien Haller (left) had also scored the winner for Ivory Coast in their semi-final win over DR Congo

Ivory Coast won the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations final against Nigeria, thanks to a thrilling come-from-behind victory on home turf.

The team’s star player, Sebastien Haller, scored the winning goal with just nine minutes left on the clock, securing the country’s third continental title.

Haller, who had previously netted the semi-final winner, showed incredible skill by flicking in Simon Adingra’s cross with the tip of his boot. This goal completed a stunning second-half comeback and triggered jubilant celebrations among the home crowd.

Nigeria had taken the lead in the first half through William Troost-Ekong’s powerful header from a corner kick.

However, Franck Kessie levelled the score in the 62nd minute, capitalizing on a mistake by the Nigerian defence to nod in Adingra’s corner unmarked.

Despite some impressive performances during the tournament, Nigeria failed to impose themselves throughout much of the match.

In contrast, Ivory Coast dominated proceedings and thoroughly deserved their victory.

This achievement marks Ivory Coast’s third Nations Cup triumph, adding to their previous successes in 1992 and 2015.

Notably, they are the first host nation to emerge victorious since Egypt’s victory in 2006.

Interim coach Emerse Fae played a crucial role in guiding the team through the knockout stages, masterminding memorable victories over Senegal and Mali.