Nigeria Vs. Côte d'Ivoire: The road to the AFCON FinalSports and Crypto Betting Insights - Sportsbet Blog

Nigeria Vs. Côte d'Ivoire: The road to the AFCON Final

Nigeria Vs. Côte d'Ivoire: The road to the AFCON Final

It’s a long ride for the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON), treating fans to a series of incredible matches. Now down to the last step as AFCON heads to the finals. It's a showdown between Nigeria and Ivory Coast, both vying for the crown.

Get ready for an epic showdown in the AFCON 2023 finals this weekend! If you've been following Nigeria and Ivory Coast closely, it's the perfect opportunity to place your bets on the outcomes you think will unfold. Before the big match, revisit the standout moments from this edition and explore key factors to keep in mind when placing your bets for the finals.

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Mauritania’s first-ever AFCON game win

Mauritania made history at the AFCON 2023 by clinching their first-ever victory in the tournament on the 23rd of January 2024. This triumph holds weight as Mauritania defeated, a dominant force in African football and two-time AFCON champions, Algeria. With a resolute 1-0 victory, Mauritania swiftly sent Algeria packing without a win.

The winning team seized the upper hand in the 37th minute as a result of a defensive error by Algeria's Mohamed Amine Tougai. His attempted clearance went awry, allowing the ball to find its way to Mohamed Dellahi Yali inside the penalty area. Yali made no mistake, calmly slotting the ball past goalkeeper Anthony Mandrea and into the net off the post.

This goal marked the first time Mauritania has ever taken the lead in a match at the AFCON. It also propelled them from the bottom of Group D’s table without any points. However, this moment showed their determination and resilience as they clinched the lead against one of the powerhouses of AFCON.

Ivory Coast sack manager Jean-Louis Gasset

One of the memorable moments in this AFCON edition was the sacking of coach Jean-Louis Gasset and other coaches who either resigned or were fired. After Ivory Coast's humiliating 4-0 loss to Equatorial Guinea in the group stage, Gasset was fired on the same day.

The now Finals team, Ivory Coast was on the verge of being eliminated in the group stages then, and the officials believed that they needed a new coach. However, Ivory Coast managed to qualify for the knockout stage as one of the top four third-place teams from all the groups. This was made possible because Morocco won against Zambia.

Nigeria won on penalties; Advances to the AFCON finals

Despite a 1-1 draw against South Africa in the semifinal match on the 7th of February 2024, Nigeria ultimately secured their place in the AFCON finals. The deciding factor came down to the penalty shootout. Goalkeeper Stanley Nwabali's remarkable performance included saving two penalties, guiding Nigeria to a 4-2 victory in the shootout.

Nigeria took the lead in the 67th minute when their captain, William Troost-Ekong, skillfully converted a penalty kick into a goal. However, South Africa managed to level the playing field in the 90th minute when Teboho Mokoena successfully scored from yet another penalty kick.

The goal came as a result of Nigeria's possible second goal. Victor Osimhen thought he had scored, which would have given Nigeria a 2-0 lead. However, the referee was called over to the sideline to review the play using the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) system.

South Africa had a chance to win during regular time, but Khuliso Mudau missed the target. Nigeria's Stanley Nwabali made crucial saves, and South Africa lost defender Grant Kekana to a red card in extra time. The match went to a penalty shootout, where Nwabali saved shots from Teboho Mokoena and Evidence Makgopa. In the end, Nigeria got the key to the finals.

Ivory Coast vs. DR Congo semifinals: 1-0

It was a fairytale story for the Ivory Coast as they reached the finals with a 1-0 win over DR Congo in the semifinals. The Elephants have been through it all, including the threat of elimination, firing their coach after the group stage, and barely qualifying for the last 16. In the end, it is them who are set to face Nigeria in the finals on the 11th of February 2024.

Sebastien Haller broke the goalless deadlock in the 65th minute, scoring the match's only goal. Ivory Coast exerted continuous pressure on DR Congo and showcased a strong performance until the last whistle. Although DR Congo had some promising chances, they were unable to convert them, resulting in their elimination.

Despite starting as one of the best third-placed teams, Ivory Coast’s journey to the final is a testament to their determination and skill. They will face Nigeria in the highly anticipated final, which is scheduled to take place in Abidjan on Sunday.

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Biggest upsets

The AFCON 2023 has been filled with iconic moments, including a Cinderella story and surprising outcomes. It has also witnessed some of the biggest upsets in the tournament's history. Here are some of the notable upsets from this edition:

Cape Verde stuns Ghana: 2-1

The AFCON 2023 started with a bang as Cape Verde caused a major upset by defeating Ghana, a four-time champion, with a 2-1 scoreline. Despite Ghana's ability to create chances throughout the match, their finishing lacked accuracy. Moreover, the absence of their key player, Mohammed Kudus, from the matchday squad could have been a major setback for Ghana.

Cape Verde got off to a great start as Jamiro Monteiro scored the first goal in the 17th minute. However, Ghana fought back and levelled in the 56th minute through a goal by Alexander Djiku. The match seemed destined for a draw until Cape Verde stunned everyone with a late goal in the 92nd minute, scored by Garry Rodrigues, to regain their lead and secure the victory.

Ghana has been consistently competitive in the AFCON, but they have not won the championship in their last 16 appearances. In recent years, they have faced difficulties, winning only one of their last nine matches. On the other hand, Cape Verde has showcased strength and dominance in the scene.

Ivory Coast knocked out the 2021 champions: 5-4

Ivory Coast, the host nation, entered the match as underdogs. Their previous 4-0 defeat to Equatorial Guinea and recent coaching change did little to inspire confidence. As the game started, it became evident that Senegal meant business. In a mere four minutes, Sadio Mane, together with Habib Diallo scored a goal.

After a close call, Sadio Mane escaped a red card, but Senegal couldn't score more goals. Ivory Coast then levelled the score with a penalty kick from Franck Kessie just before the match ended. The game ended in a draw, leading to a penalty shootout that propelled Ivory Coast to a memorable victory.

Top scorers of the season

As the AFCON 2023 approaches its end with the finals scheduled for February 11, 2024 several standout players made their mark by consistently finding the back of the net. Here are the top scorers of the tournament:

  • Emilio Nsue Lopez (Equatorial Guinea) - 5 goals

  • Gelson Dala (Angola) - 4 goals.

  • Mostafa Mohamed (Egypt) - 4 goals

  • Ademola Lookman (Nigeria) - 3 goals

  • Baghdad Bounedjah (Algeria) - 3 goals

  • Bertrand Traoré (Burkina Faso) - 3 goals

  • Lassine Sinayoko (Mali) - 3 goals

  • Mabululu (Angola) - 3 goals

  • Mohamed Bayo (Guinea) - 3 goals

Highest scoring games

With an action-packed tournament full of surprises and celebrations, see the highest-scoring games to look back into:

  • Senegal vs. Ivory Coast: 1 (4) - 1 (5)

  • Equatorial Guinea vs. Guinea-Bissau: 4-2

  • Mauritania vs. Angola: 2-3

  • Egypt vs. DR Congo: 1 (7) - 1 (8)

  • Nigeria vs. South Africa: 1 (4) - 1 (2)

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What to expect in Nigeria vs. Ivory Coast in the AFCON finals

After a long road, the Super Eagles and the Elephants have emerged as the dominant teams set to compete for the AFCON 2023 championship. The highly anticipated final will take place on Sunday, February 11, 2024, with a scheduled 8 PM GMT kick-off at the Alassane Ouattara Stadium in Abidjan. Here’s what you can expect between the two:

  • Nigeria’s offensive prowess: Nigeria's ability to convert scoring opportunities into goals might pose a challenge for them. Their forward line may struggle to consistently find the back of the net. Victor Osimhen will be Nigeria's primary attacking threat. With his goal-scoring and playmaking abilities, much of Nigeria's attacking strategies are likely to revolve around him.

  • Ivory Coast’s home advantage: As the host nation, Ivory Coast will enjoy the advantage of playing in front of their passionate home crowd. The support from the fans can act as a boost for the team.

  • Defensive threat from Nigeria: Nigeria has kept a clean sheet from their last four AFCON games leading to finals. The Elephants’ must keep an eye on their defensive solidity as it can be a key factor to Nigeria’s success.

  • Key players to watch: Haller and Kessié are players to watch out for, as they can create scoring opportunities and make a huge impact on the game, in favour of Ivory Coast.

Meanwhile, besides Osimhen, Nigeria boasts a powerhouse of players including Kelechi Iheanacho and Troost-Ekong who made wonders for the Super Eagles during their semi-finals showdown against South Africa.

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Elle Arevalo8 Feb 2024

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