Nigeria Super Eagles WAIT For A Fourth AFCON Title Continues After A 2-1 Defeat To Host Nation Ivory Coast In The 2023 Final.

Nigeria’s wait for their fourth Africa Cup of Nations title continues after they narrowly lost 2-1 to host nation Ivory Coast in the final at the Alassane Ouattara Stadium, Ebimpe, Abidjan, on Sunday night.

The Super Eagles of Nigeria who entered the tournament in a poor form, became increasingly looking like the most formidable team at the 2023 AFCON tournament.

Following the exit of other pre-tournament favourites teams, the Super Eagles were the team tipped to claim the trophy for the first time since 2013.

At the end of the first half, it appeared the Super Eagles would have lifted the trophy again, after William Troost-Ekong rose highest to head in a corner kick and give Nigeria the lead seven minutes before the break. 

It was the 30-year-old captain's third goal of the tournament, and he has now scored five goals at the AFCON finals. He was also named Player of the Tournament afterwards.

The Super Eagles were unbeaten in their previous 22 matches in the competition when scoring first, but the hosts hit back just after the hour mark (62mins) as Franck Kessie nodded in Simon Adringa’s corner to score the equaliser.

Adingra was involved again as the Elephants snatched a dramatic late winner in the 81st minute, the Brighton & Hove Albion winger crossing for Sebastien Haller to prod past Nigeria goalkeeper Stanley Nwabali at the near post in the delights of the home fans at the 60,000 capacity stadium.

It was quite a journey for the Ivorians in the tournament, despite losing 4-0 to Equatorial Guinea in the group stages, sacking manager Jean-Louis Gasset mid-tournament and replacing him with assistant Emerse Fae, squeaking past Senegal on penalties in the last 16, grabbing a last-minute equaliser against Mali before edging that quarter-final in extra time,and a 1-0 win against DR Congo in the semi-final courtesy of a lone goal by Haller.

Max Gradel receives the trophy from FIFA president Gianni Infantino who made his way from the Asian Cup final on Saturday, Ivory Coast president Alassane Ouattara, and CAF president Patrice Motsepe. Gradel gives the trophy a gentle kiss, as he waited for everyone to assemble, before lifting it high.

It's the country's THIRD continental title.

Caretaker boss Emerse Faé has become the first manager to win the Africa Cup of Nations without starting the tournament as head coach of his team.

Nigeria’s players on the other hand, headed up to the stage to collect their runners-up medals. It’s the worst walk in football, to come so close and go away as the second best team.

Naturally Jose Peseiro's team look deflated and dejected but on the night they were the second best team.

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