Ivory Coast crowned AFCON Champions. Cote d’Ivoire claimed a remarkable victory in the Africa Cup of Nations final, overcoming a 1-0 gap to defeat Nigeria 2-1 in a thrilling match on Sunday.
In front of an electrified crowd at the Alassane Ouattara Stadium in Abidjan, the Ivory Coast team secured their third African title, staging a remarkable comeback cheered on by their dedicated supporters.
William Ekong’s first-half goal initially put Nigeria in the lead for a potential fourth title. However, Franck Kessie’s equalizer and a late goal by Sebastian Haller, the standout player, secured Cote d’Ivoire the prestigious title.
Haller, who triumphantly recovered from cancer last year, emerged as the hero, scoring the decisive goal that completed the Elephants’ sensational comeback. Despite the setback from William Troost-Ekong’s first-half goal, the Ivorian team, fueled by the home crowd, maintained their attacking against Nigeria’s defense.
In the 60th minute, Kouakou Kossounou’s powerful strike tested the Nigerian goalkeeper but was cleverly blocked. The following corner, delivered by Simon Adingra, found Frank Kessie’s head, leveling the score.
With the crowd’s firm support, the Ivorian team boosted their attacks, with Adingra causing problems for the Super Eagles defense. In the 81st minute, Adingra’s well-placed cross allowed Haller to secure the crucial lead.
The historic victory marked a remarkable come back for Cote d’Ivoire, who faced elimination in the group stages after a 4-0 loss to Equatorial Guinea. Under interim boss Emerse Fae, the team demonstrated resilience and collective spirit in their triumph as the champions of Africa.
Haller’s winning goal sealed an emotional and historic comeback, lifting Cote d’Ivoire to the peak of continental football after an eight-year title drought. The victory not only showcased their reawakening but also validated Fae’s leadership and the team’s indomitable spirit on home soil.