Nigeria is set to face the host nation, Ivory Coast, in the final of the Africa Cup of Nations. Despite their dominant performance throughout the tournament, the Super Eagles were pushed to a tense penalty shootout by a resilient South Africa team in the semi-finals.
Kelechi Iheanacho’s decisive spot-kick secured Nigeria’s place in the final, as they aim for a fourth continental title and their first since 2013. Meanwhile, Ivory Coast, champions in 1992 and 2015, have also navigated an impressive journey in recent weeks.
The hosts dismissed their manager, Jean-Louis Gasset, following a humiliating 4-0 loss to Equatorial Guinea, seemingly ending their campaign at the group stage. However, they advanced as one of the best third-place teams and proceeded to eliminate defending champions Senegal and then Mali.
Sebastien Haller netted the lone goal as Ivory Coast narrowly defeated DR Congo in the second semi-final encounter on Wednesday night.
Now, here’s all you need to know about the AFCON final, a rematch of the Group A clash where William Troost-Ekong’s penalty secured a victory for Nigeria.
Date, Venue & Time
Nigeria vs Ivory Coast is scheduled for an 8pm GMT kick-off on Sunday February 11, 2024.
The Alassane Ouattara Stadium in Abidjan will host the final.
More comprehensive team updates will be available closer to the match, as both teams evaluate their squads following intense semi-final encounters.
Victor Osimhen was declared fit to lead Nigeria against South Africa after initially experiencing abdominal discomfort that delayed his travel with the squad. Despite being on the verge of suspension, Ola Aina, Moses Simon, and Calvin Bassey managed to avoid bookings in the match against South Africa.
On the Ivory Coast side, Sebastien Haller is now fully recovered and in form, alongside Brighton’s Simon Adingra. Additionally, Serge Aurier, Odilon Kossounou, and Oumar Diakite will return from suspension for the Elephants.
Nigeria faced a tough challenge against South Africa, initially dominating the game at 1-0 before conceding a penalty in the build-up, forcing extra time. However, they kept their composure, securing victory in a dramatic penalty shootout. Now, they prepare for an intriguing showdown with a resurgent Ivory Coast in the final.
Despite not hitting top form in the knockouts, Nigeria has regained their confidence under caretaker boss Emerse Fae, particularly after overcoming a setback against Equatorial Guinea. The final is expected to be closely contested, possibly decided by a single goal, similar to their group stage encounter. Nonetheless, the match could extend to extra time and penalties, given the evenly matched teams.
Prediction: Nigeria to win, 1-0.
Head to Head
Head to head (h2h) history and results: Following Nigeria’s recent victory in the group stage, both teams now have an equal head-to-head record. Nigeria had previously struggled against Ivory Coast, losing four out of six previous meetings.
Nigeria wins: 9 Draws: 10 Ivory Coast wins: 9