Sebastien Haller scored a dramatic late winner as Ivory Coast fought back to beat Nigeria 2-1 in Sunday’s Africa Cup of Nations final, completing a remarkable turnaround to claim their third continental title.
Nigeria initially looked set to repeat their group stage victory over Ivory Coast with a 1-0 lead, courtesy of captain William Troost-Ekong’s header late in the first half. However, Franck Kessie equalized just after the hour mark, and Haller scored the winning goal in the 81st minute, sparking wild celebrations among the Ivory Coast fans.
This victory adds to Ivory Coast’s titles in 1992 and 2015 and brings them level with Nigeria on three Cup of Nations triumphs overall, joining Egypt, Cameroon, and Ghana as the most successful teams in the tournament’s history. Nigeria missed the chance to match Ghana’s four victories.
Despite being led by reigning African player of the year Victor Osimhen, Nigeria was considered the strongest team in the competition. However, Ivory Coast’s determination proved too much, making them the first host country to win the AFCON since 2006.
Former captain Didier Drogba, who led the Ivory Coast team that lost to Egypt in the 2006 final, witnessed this stunning victory as a spectator.