AFCON 2023: Troost-Ekong’s heroics propel Nigeria to victory over Ivory Coast


In a dramatic showdown at the Stade Alassane Ouattara in Abidjan, Nigeria orchestrated a stunning upset by defeating hosts Ivory Coast 1-0 in a pivotal Group A clash of the TotalEnergies CAF AFCON. The stadium, packed with eager fans, witnessed an electrifying contest between the two African heavyweights.

The game unfolded with both teams locked in a fierce battle, each aware of the stakes. The tension escalated as the first half ended in a deadlock, with neither side willing to concede the crucial opening goal. Defensive strategies dominated the play, leaving star strikers like Jean-Philippe Krasso and Victor Osimhen frustrated and isolated.

The turning point arrived ten minutes into the second half when Osimhen was fouled, earning Nigeria a penalty. Surprisingly, the African Footballer of the Year relinquished the spot-kick duties to William Troost-Ekong, who confidently converted, stunning the Ivorian crowd into silence. The 1-0 triumph marked the first defeat for the Elephants in nine matches and breathed new life into Nigeria’s AFCON campaign.

Nigeria’s resilience in the face of intense Ivorian pressure and their ability to hold on for a famous victory sent shockwaves through Group A, leveling them with surprise leaders Equatorial Guinea at four points each. Cote d’Ivoire, now at three points, faces a must-win situation against Equatorial Guinea to secure a spot in the knockout stages.

As the final fixture approaches, Nigeria finds itself on the cusp of qualification, aiming to avoid defeat against winless Guinea Bissau. The Super Eagles, having silenced the Ivorian fortress, have not only revived their AFCON campaign but also issued a warning to their rivals in the TotalEnergies AFCON 2023.

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