The Elephants of Ivory Coast came from behind to beat the Super Eagles of Nigeria 2-1 in the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations final which took place at the beautiful Alassane Ouattara Stadium in Abidjan on Sunday night.
Nigeria had gone ahead from a William Troost-Ekong's powerful header in the 38th minute to head into the break with the lead.
However, the Elephants pulled one back in the 62nd minute from Franck Kessie and then scored again 9 minutes from time as Sebastien Haller guided the ball with his head into the top right corner to all but seal the fate of the game in a match the Super Eagles played very badly.
Nigeria made two changes to the side that started the semi-final win against South Africa with Zaidu Sanusi and Samuel Chukwueze replacing Bright Osayi-Samuel and Moses Simon respectively.
Super Eagles player ratings
Stanley Nwabali – 7/10
Nwabali conceded twice for the first time in the tournament despite making 5 saves. The team let him down, but he can be proud of his good performances for Nigeria enroute to the final.
Semi Ajayi – 6/10
Ajayi didn't have a very good game, but he was able to make 3 clearances, 1 interception and tackle with his 32 touches with the ball.
William Troost-Ekong – 7/10
He had a decent game, opening the scoring for Nigeria from a powerful header minutes before the break. Unfortunately, his contributions didn't count as the team played below expectations.
Calvin Bassey – 7/10
Although Nigeria lost, Bassey showcased defensive solidity with 8 clearances, one off the line. He also made one tackle and interception respectively.
Ola Aina – 6/10
Aina played his worst game for the Super Eagles in this tournament. He didn't offer so much for the team and that reflected in their struggles going forward.
Frank Onyeka – 7/10
Onyeka who has been a defensive shield for the team suffered in the game. He was busy all through as the Ivoriens overran the midfield. He only had 22 touches with the ball and didn't finish the game. Until today, the Brentford midfielder has played every minute of the AFCON for Nigeria.
Alex Iwobi – 6/10
Iwobi was a shadow of himself in the game as he failed to create anything big. However, he gave one key pass which counter for nothing.
Zaidu Sanusi – 6/10
Bringing Zaidu Sanusi back into the team didn't go down well for Jose Peseiro's side. He looked uncomfortable and was clearly not at his best. His pressure, however, won the team the corner which they scored from.
Samuel Chukwueze – 5/10
The AC Milan man was lost in the game and was constant in losing the ball. His ineffectiveness made him to be substituted.
Ademola Lookman – 7/10
The Atalanta man who easily played his best football for Nigeria in this tournament was a shadow of himself, but he did deliver one key pass. He was later substituted.
Victor Osimhen 6/10
Osimhen's work rate was there but because the team sucked in the midfield, he was unable to register any shots as he lacked services up front.
Super Eagles subs
Alhassan Yusuf – 4/10
He came on for Alex Iwobi a minute before Nigeria conceded the second goal. He was largely inefficient.
Kelechi Iheanacho – 5/10
Iheanacho came on for Lookman and barely had any contribution before the team fell 2-1 behind.
Terem Moffi – 4/10
He was introduced for Onyeka to try and see if the team can mount a comeback after going 2-1 down, but it wasn't to be.
Joe Aribo – 4/10
Aribo capped off what has been a miserable AFCON campaign on a personal note with another late substitution. He was never going to make the difference with 4 minutes left.
This article was most recently revised and updated 1 week ago