Despite losing 4-0 to Equatorial Guinea in the group stages, sacking manager Jean-Louis Gasset mid-tournament and replacing him with assistant Emerse Fae, squeaking past Senegal on penalties in the last 16, grabbing a last-minute equaliser against Mali before edging that quarter-final in extra time… Ivory Coast have somehow come away with the Africa Cup of Nations trophy after the wildest of runs.
Sebastian Haller was the hero as Ivory Coast came from behind to beat Nigeria 2-1 and claim their third Africa Cup of Nations title.
The host nation delighted their fans in Abidjan with Haller completing a wonderful turnaround as he volleyed home the winner nine minutes from time after Franck Kessie cancelled out William Troost-Ekong’s first-half header.
Ivory Coast started brightly and created the better first-half chances with Max Gradel and Simon Adingra going close.
However, it was Nigeria who took the lead seven minutes before the break, when Troost-Ekong nodded home his third goal of the tournament.
The Super Eagles were unbeaten in their previous 22 matches in the competition when scoring first, but the hosts hit back just after the hour mark as Kessie nodded in Adringa’s corner.
Adingra was involved again as the Elephants snatched a dramatic winner in the 81st minute, the Brighton & Hove Albion winger crossing for Haller to prod past Stanley Nwabali at the near post.