18 months after being diagnosed with testicular cancer, Sebastien Haller played a hero’s role, pulling off a stunning comeback to score the game’s 81st-minute winner for Ivory Coast, who defeated Nigeria 2-1 in Abidjan to win the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations.
OFFICIAL: Ivory Coast Crowned AFCON 2023 Champions After Beating Nigeria
Despite playing second-best for the opening thirty minutes, the Super Eagles lead at the interval thanks to captain William Troost-Ekong, but the hosts would not be denied for long. After the hour, Franck Kessie leveled the score with a header off a corner, and Haller’s flick gave the Elephants the lead with under 10 minutes remaining.
Both teams made it this far on the backs of late drama, so it was fitting that it was won in the final minutes of play. Nigeria had conceded just two goals all tournament to this point, but under repeated pressure all game, were unable to keep the Elephants out across the 90 minutes of action.
The win for Ivory Coast is an incredible achievement, having only squeaked through to the knockout stage as the final team to qualify, firing their coach in the process. Interim boss Emerse Fae took over and led the side on an improbable run, securing the trophy in the end.