Nigeria will face Cote’ D’Ivoire in the final of the 34th edition of the African Cup Of Nations (AFCON) after they survived through penalties against a dexterous South African side. Nigerian fans ran amok at the Stade Bouake after Leicester City striker Kelechi Iheanacho scored from the spot kick to give the Super Eagles the win.
But both teams have had to dig deep to play through the knock-out stages of the competition. Ivory Coast fired manager Jean Louis Gasset mid-tournament after a thumping 4-0 loss to Equitorial Guinea at the group stages. They finished third and managed to edge off defending champions Senegal 4-5 on penalties, before putting up a valiant effort against Mali to book a spot at the final.
The Super Eagles finished at 2nd place in the same group with one of their two wins coming in their Group A match against the Ivorians that ended 1-0. Their biggest win of the tournament came in their 2-0 thriller against Cameroon. Despite being the team with the largest contingent of foreign based players, Nigeria has struggled to capitalise on the team’s technical ability to give them an edge over their opponents at the AFCON.
Overall Nigeria has had the least possession in five of their last six matches but has the most clean sheets in the tournament. 27 year old Chippa United F.C. goalkeeper Stanley Nwabali has been sensational between the posts, keeping out two South African penalties to keep his team’s 2024 AFCON hopes alive. Cote d’Ivorie have been prolific at creating chances but wasteful in the final third. Of the last six games they have kept only one clean sheet.
Head to Head both teams have an even record each with two wins a piece. Nigeria have three AFCON titles won in 1980, 1994 and in 2013. The Elephants won their first title in 1992 against Ghana before repeating history to win the title against the same team on penalties in 2015. With very little to tell both teams apart the stage is now set to determine who will be the winner of the 34th edition of the African cup of Nations.
Both teams will face it out on Sunday at 11pm EAT at the Olympic Stadium of Ebimpe. The match will be broadcasting live in Ultra HD on Supersport Plus on Dstv, Sky Sports Main Event, Sky Sports Premier League and BBC Three.