The Super Eagles of Nigeria fell short in their quest for African Cup of Nations (AFCON) glory as they succumbed to a 2-1 defeat against the Elephants of Cote d’Ivoire in the tournament final.
In a highly anticipated showdown at the Olympic Stadium, Ebimpe, Abidjan, on Sunday, Nigeria relinquished an early lead to the resurgent Ivorian side.
The Eagles, who had conceded only two goals throughout the tournament leading up to the final, found themselves unable to contain the renewed vigor of Cote d’Ivoire.
Despite taking the lead in the first half courtesy of a towering header from William Troost-Ekong, Nigeria struggled to maintain their advantage.
The Ivorians, galvanized by their interim coach Emerse Fae following the dismissal of Jean-Louis Gasset, mounted a spirited comeback.
Franck Kessie leveled the scoreline with a well-placed header, before Sebastien Haller sealed the victory for the host nation, converting a cross from Simon Adingra.
Throughout the game, the Eagles found themselves grappling with cohesion and struggled to create clear-cut opportunities. Their solitary shot on target proved insufficient against a determined Ivorian outfit.
The defeat marks a disappointing end to Nigeria’s AFCON campaign, while Cote d’Ivoire celebrates their third continental title in history.