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AFCON 2023 FINAL PREVIEW

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Nigeria Vs Ivory Coast Sunday- 20hrs

A rematch of tight Group A contest awaits as the Super Eagles battle the tournament hosts in Sunday’s showpiece.

Nigeria will meet  Ivory Coast in the Africa Cup of Nations final.

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The Super Eagles had largely made light work of all before them at this year’s AFCON but were forced into a dramatic penalty shootout by a dogged South Africa side in the semi-finals.

Kelechi Iheanacho scored the winning spot-kick to put Nigeria within touching distance of a fourth continental crown and first since 2013, though 1992 and 2015 champions Ivory Coast have been on quite the journey themselves over recent weeks.

The hosts sacked their manager Jean-Louis Gasset after a disastrous 4-0 defeat by Equatorial Guinea that looked to have ended their campaign at the group stage, but they squeezed through as a best third-place team before knocking out holders Senegal and then Mali.

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Osimhen 1

Sebastien Haller scored the only goal of the game as Ivory Coast edged out DR Congo in the second last-four meeting on Wednesday night.

Here’s everything you need to know about the AFCON final, which is a repeat of the match-up from Group A, when William Troost-Ekong’s penalty settled the game for Nigeria.

kick-off time and venue

The match is scheduled for an 8pm GMT kick-off on Sunday February 11, 2024 at The Alassane Ouattara Stadium in Abidjan.

Team news

More detailed team news will emerge closer to the time, once both sides have assessed their respective squads following two hard-fought semi-final ties but Victor Osimhen was passed fit to lead Nigeria against South Africa after abdominal discomfort had initially delayed him from travelling with the squad. Ola Aina, Moses Simon and Calvin Bassey were all a booking away from missing the final, but none of that trio were cautioned against South Africa.

As for Ivory Coast, Haller is now back fit and firing, along with Brighton’s Simon Adingra.

Serge Aurier, Odilon Kossounou and Oumar Diakite will all be back from suspension for the Elephants, meanwhile.

Prediction

Nigeria were once again not at their best against South Africa, thinking they had wrapped up the game at 2-0 only for the goal to be chalked off and Bafana Bafana to be awarded a penalty for a foul in the build-up that was converted to force extra time.

But they held their nerve thereafter to triumph on penalties and tee up a tantalising clash with resurgent Ivory Coast in the final.

It’s hardly been vintage stuff from them in the knockouts either, but they have their belief back after a rotten loss to Equatorial Guinea and caretaker boss Emerse Fae deserves a lot of credit.

This will likely be a tense and cagey final decided by the odd goal, as was the group contest last month, but it also would not be a surprise to see it go all the way to extra time and penalties.

Nigeria to win, 1-0.

Head-to-head history and results

The two sides now have an identical head-to-head record following Nigeria’s narrow win in the group stage.

Nigeria had previously lost four of their previous six meetings against Ivory Coast.

Nigeria wins: 9

Draws: 10

Ivory Coast wins: 9

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