The Super Eagles lost for the first time at the AFCON 2023, and it was in the all important match, the final.

The Eagles lost 2-1 in Abidjan in a game where they scored the opening goal through captain William Troost-Ekong and led at Half time. Franck Kessie and Sebastien Haller scored for the host nation, as they clinched their third AFCON trophy.

AFCON Final - Super Eagles Fall Short Against Ivory Coast

Nigeria last played in the final of the AFCON 10 years ago, so the Super Eagles were eager to upset the home crowd and win Nigeria’s fourth title, but they just could not hold on to the barrage of attacks the Ivorians carefully plotted and executed.

Troost-Ekong gave Nigeria the lead with a looping header on a rebound from a corner. The Eagles then reverted to defending instead of using the momentum they got from their goal to their advantage. Ivory Coast held down the midfield with the likes of Kessie, Seri, and also Seko Fofana controlling the flow of the game. 

The Hosts started the second half the way they started the first. They kept asking questions of the Nigerian defence and in the 62nd minute, Kessie’s header breached the Nigerian defence. 

After the equalizer, Côte d’Ivoire plans on the night became even more obvious. The hosts dominated the right-hand side of Nigerian defence, isolating Ola Aina and Simon Adingra.

AFCON Final - Super Eagles Fall Short Against Ivory Coast

The Brighton winger got the better of Aina on the night. Adingra’s cross was met by Sebastien Haller just after the 80th minute mark, and that proved to be the winning goal.

A Fitting End to An Entertaining Tournament

It was a fantastic tournament that exceeded expectations, and the Super Eagles can also be proud of their achievements, but it was Côte d’Ivoire who lifted the 2023 AFCON trophy after almost crashing out of the competition in the group stages.