HomeNewsSPORTSAFCON 2024: Nigeria Beats Ivory Coast To Throw Group A Open

AFCON 2024: Nigeria Beats Ivory Coast To Throw Group A Open

The hosts of the African Cup of Nations, Ivory Coast fell to a narrow defeat to the Super Eagles of Nigeria to keep Group A wide open heading into the final future of the group stages.

After avoiding defeat for eight consecutive games, the Elephants of Côte d’Ivoire were beaten by Nigeria by a lone goal courtesy of a second-half penalty executed by William Troost-Ekong.

Both teams went into the game with different mindsets and aims, a victory for the Ivorians would have sealed their progression into the knockout stage of the competition having defeated Guinea Bissau in the opening game. Nigerians on the other hand, desperately needed a win to keep their hopes of qualifying alive after playing a one-all draw with Equatorial Guinea.

The game was the first competitive meeting between the two rivals in over 10 years and it began with a very exciting pace, early chances were created on both ends of the pitch.

African footballer of the year, Victor Osimhen broke free from the Ivorian defense but over-hit his shot. Barked a minute later, Christian Koame capitalized on an error from Zaidu Sanusi, but his effort was saved by the Nigeria goalkeeper, Stanley Nwabili to keep the game goalless.

Due to the circumstances surrounding the game, both teams started playing cautiously in order not to avoid going behind in such a crucial fixture. It was no surprise that the strikers from the two countries, Osimhen and Jean-Philippe Krasso, were isolated and became frustrated. The game was still goalless and cagey when the halftime whistle sounded.

Ultimately, it was the Super Eagles who got the opener 10 minutes into the second half. Osimhen went down in the box from a challenge from Ousmane Diomande and a penalty was awarded to Nigeria after a VAR check. The responsibility of taking the spot kick fell to the captain of Nigeria, William-Troost-Ekong who blasted it beyond the reach of the goalkeeper to put Nigeria ahead.

Desperate for an equalizer, the Ivorian coach, Jean Louis Gasset brought in reinforcements from the bench but they failed to create any decent opportunity to trouble the Nigerian defense as the Elephants went the entire second half without a shot on target.

With that result, Equatorial Guinea is on top of Group A with four points following a 4-2 win over Guinea Bissau, Nigeria moved to second place level on points, the Ivorians dropped to third place with three points and Guinea Bissau stayed bottom of the group with zero points.

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