Sebastien Haller scored the winning goal nine minutes before the end of the match as hosts Côte d'Ivoire claimed a third Africa Cup of Nations title with a 2-1 victory over Nigeria in the final at the Alassane Ouattara Stadium in Abidjan on Sunday night.
It was a triumph born from adversity as the Ivorians scraped out of their group following two defeats, including a humiliating 4-0 loss to Equatorial Guinea, before finding their form in the knockout rounds with a never-say-die attitude that led them to the title.
William Troost-Ekong’s header gave Nigeria a first-half lead as he rose to meet Samuel Chukwueze’s flick-on from a corner, but Franck Kessie equalised just past the hour-mark after being left unmarked at the back post from a set-piece.
The Ivorians had to come from behind several times in the tournament and did it again when Haller steered Simon Adingra’s cross into the net, much to the delight of his rookie coach Emerse Fae, who had started the tournament as assistant to sacked Frenchman Jean-Louis Gasset.
On Saturday, South Africa defeated DRC to take the third position in the tournament.
The champions are expected to get seven million dollars after CAF increased the winning prize from five million dollars given to winners of the 2022 edition.
The runners-up will pocket four million dollars while the third and fourth position teams will receive 2.5 million dollars each.
➤Click here to follow our WhatsApp channel for more stories.