AFCON23: Nigeria Stun Hosts, Cote D’Ivoire To Shake Up Group A

In front of a packed Stade Alassane Ouattara Staduim in Abidjan, Nigeria Defender, William Troost-Ekong’s second-half penalty handed the Super Eagles a 1-0 victory over Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) hosts Côte d’Ivoire in a Group A second round encounter.

While it was the first competitive meeting in over a decade between the two sides, the game becomes the first defeat for the Elephants in nine matches and a result that blows Group A open with one fixture to go.

Before the game, the Elephants knew that a win would ensure their progression to the knockout stages, whilst the Super Eagles desperately required three points to keep their qualification hopes in their own hands.

Nine minutes on the clock, within 60 seconds of one another, at one end of the field, Victor Osimhen broke free of the hosts’ back line before skying his first attempt at goal.

Then rushing towards the opposite goal, Stanley Nwabili was forced to turn Christian Kouamé’s close-range effort around the post, sparing team-mate Zaidu Sanusi’s blushes for his mistake

More effort was put into the defensive aspect of the game, with opposing strikers Jean-Philippe Krasso and Osimhen becoming increasingly isolated – and subsequently frustrated – so it was no surprise the match remained deadlocked heading into half time.

At the return of the second half, it was Nigeria’s patience that paid dividends as they were presented with the golden chance to move in front from a penalty 10 minutes after the restart. Osimhen had initially gone down under a challenge from Ousmane Diomande

The Ivorian fans were silenced when William Troost-Ekong converted the spot kick on 54th-minute.

Despite relentless roars of support, the Elephants could not find an equaliser as the Super Eagles held on for a famous victory as Nigeria managed the closing stages expertly to condemn the stunned Elephants to their first defeat.

The 1-0 triumph lifts the Super Eagles level on four points with surprise package Equatorial Guinea at the Group A summit.

Cote d’Ivoire remain third on three points and likely need to beat Equatorial Guinea to reach the knockouts.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *