In a gripping showdown at the Alassane Ouattara Stadium in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire staged a remarkable comeback to secure a historic victory over Nigeria in the TotalEnergies CAF Africa Cup of Nations final.
The Elephants, buoyed by their passionate supporters, showcased their resilience and determination as they battled back from a goal down to clinch their third African title in front of a packed crowd.
Despite Nigeria’s early lead courtesy of William Ekong’s goal, Cote d’Ivoire rallied after the break, with Franck Kessie leveling the scoreline before Sebastian Haller’s late heroics sealed the win.
Haller, who overcame cancer last year, emerged as the hero for Cote d’Ivoire, capping off a sensational comeback with his decisive goal that sparked scenes of jubilation among the home fans.
From the outset, the hosts dominated proceedings, with Haller posing a constant threat to the Nigerian defense. Despite several near misses, it was Ekong who broke the deadlock for Nigeria with a well-taken header just before halftime.
Undeterred by the setback, Cote d’Ivoire continued to press forward in the second half, with Kessie’s header restoring parity following a superb delivery from Adingra.
As the tension mounted, Haller delivered the decisive blow, capitalizing on Adingra’s brilliance to fire home the winning goal in the 81st minute, much to the delight of the home crowd.
The victory marked a remarkable turnaround for Cote d’Ivoire, who defied the odds to claim the AFCON title after a challenging campaign that saw them on the brink of elimination in the group stages.
Interim boss Emerse Fae played a pivotal role in inspiring the team’s resurgence, guiding them to victory in dramatic fashion and reaffirming their status as champions of Africa.