Home Sports Nigeria to play hosts Cote d’Ivoire In AFCON 2023 final

Nigeria to play hosts Cote d’Ivoire In AFCON 2023 final

The Super Eagles of Nigeria will play hosts Cote d’Ivoire on Sunday in the final of the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON).

Nigeria’s substitute Kelechi Iheanacho scored to give Nigeria a 4-2 penalty shootout victory over South Africa on Wednesday after an Africa Cup of Nations semi-final thriller in Bouake.

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On the other hand, Sebastien Haller fired hosts Ivory Coast into the Africa Cup of Nations final with a 1-0 win over the Democratic Republic of Congo in Abidjan on Wednesday.

Nigeria triumphed after a 1-1 draw following extra time in Bouake in the latest of many dramatic matches at this biennial African football showpiece.

“Our team has a huge state of mind. The team fights together, There are 25 of us (in the squad and) it’s difficult to beat us,” said Nigeria coach Jose Peseiro.

“Deep down, thinking about that second cancelled (Nigerian) goal and the (South African equaliser), a lot of teams would have given up.

“I am very happy, the players are happy, they deserve it, we deserve it, the Super Eagles deserve it, the Nigerian people deserve it.”

South Africa coach Hugo Broos said: “Football can be cruel. You play a bad match against Cape Verde, you win on penalties. You play a very good match against Nigeria and lose on penalties.”

Iheanacho from English second-tier club Leicester City had been an unused substitute in the five group and knockout matches that took the Super Eagles to the semi-finals.

He was thrust into action by Portuguese Peseiro for the first time after 102 minutes against South Africa and calmly converted the decisive spot-kick.

Nwabali, who plays for South African top-flight club Chippa United, saved shootout kicks from Teboho Mokoena and Evidence Makgopa.

Peseiro, a long-time backer of under-fire incumbent shot-stopper Francis Uzoho, dropped him for the opening group match against Equatorial Guinea and Nwabali has been an ever present.

Nwabali conceded once in a draw with the Equatoguineans, then kept four clean sheets before being beaten by a Mokoena penalty in the 90th minute of regular time.

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