AFCON: Nigeria’s Super Eagles find Wings again, beat hosts Cote d’Ivoire 1-0

An emphatic penalty strike by William Troost-Ekong in the 55th minute gave Nigeria’s Super Eagles a slim, but important 1-0 victory over hosts Cote d’Ivoire at the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) match played at the Alassane Ouattara stadium, Abidjan, on Thursday.

In a topsy-turvy match ignited by boisterous home fans, Victor Osimhen-led Eagles struggled to create clear cut chances in the first half, with Osimhen missing two chances in both halves.

The Napoli’s forward’s endeavour eventually paid off in the second half when he was fouled by Ivorian defender Ousmane Diomande in the 18-yard box. The referee had to check the VAR before the penalty was awarded to the Eagles.

Up came Troost-Ekong to send the Ivorian keeper the wrong way and the Super Eagles soaring in their first win at this AFCON tournament.

In the final quarter of the match, the Ivorian attack, energised by fresh substitutions, huffed and puffed, but were nullified by a steely Eagles defence line.

Osimhen, who was substituted for Paul Onuachu in the 88th minute, was named Man of the Match.

Nigeria are now joint top of Group A, with four points, the same as Equatorial Guinea, who lead by a superior goal margin.

With a draw and win from their first two matches, Nigeria has its destiny in its hands. And a win or favourable draw against bottom-placed Guinea-Bissau in their final group match will secure the Eagles a place in the last 16.

Cote d’Ivoire, who are currently third in Group A with three points, will need a win against leaders Equatorial Guinea, if they are to make it through to the knockout stages.


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