From two defeats in the group stage, a manager departure and a campaign in chaos, the Elephants of Côte d’Ivoire rose from the ashes and redeemed themselves in front of their own fans when they last night defeated the Super Eagles of Nigeria to become the champions of Africa for a third time.
In what was expected to be a testy replay of the group game, which Nigeria won, the Ivorians saw off the Super Eagles in a tense 2-1 defeat. Two strikes from Franck Kessie and Sebastien Haller were enough to see off Troost-Ekong’s opener at the Alassane Ouattara Stadium.
The tournament marked the 34th edition of the continent’s competition. The Super Eagles were gunning for a fourth AFCON title, while the Elephants were seeking to have their third title, having only won in 1992 and 2015.
Both teams advanced from Group A, with Equatorial Guinea topping the table with a joint seven points and three goals difference. However, the Elephants made it out as the fourth third-place team.
Wild celebrations greeted the final whistle from the referee in the stands as the hosts claim a third AFCON title. The magic of this tournament and the never-say-die attitude of Les Elephants completes a fairytale end to this tournament.