AFCON 2023: Ivory Coast to play Nigeria in the final

By Edwin Kule

AFCON 2023: Semifinals

Ivory Coast 1-0 Democratic Republic of the Congo

Nigeria 1(4)-1(2) South Africa

It’s now official and confirmed that Ivory Coast will take on Nigeria in the final of the ongoing AFCON tournament on Sunday, February 11.

The two African giants will face off at the Olympic Stadium in Ebimpe in what many anticipate will be a thrilling encounter.

Sebastien Haller scored the only goal to spur the tournament hosts onto the grand stage of the tournament.

In the 29th minute, a loose ball was pounced on by Yoane Wissa inside the box before he immediately fired the shot towards the bottom left corner, but Ivory Coast custodian Yahia Fofana was alert to collect the effort.

Haller guided the ball wide of the frame with five minutes to play in the first stanza. The lanky forward got onto Wilfred Singo’s well-swung cross but failed to get the ball on target.

Moments later, Kessie latched onto a short pass on the edge of the box before his low drive bounced off the left post.

Second-half substitute Theo Bongonda came close with a shot inside the box, but his effort went off the side net as Congo came so close.

Frank Kessie’s snapshot from midrange towards the goal found Congo’s custodian, Lionel Mpasi Nzau, flat-footed but somehow stretched to make a stunning save.

Haller finally broke the deadlock in the 65th minute. His volley bounced off the ground before finding the roof of the net to spark the home crowd.

The hosts held onto their lead to confirm a place in the final game of the tournament. It has been a turn of events after losing two games in the group stages; they now have their eyes on the big prize.

In the other semifinal game, Nigeria and South Africa played to a one-all draw in normal time before going into penalties. Before Nigeria registered a 4-2 victory in the spot kicks,.

South Africa and DR. Congo will face off in the classification game that will be played on Saturday.