AFCON 2023: Nigeria vs Ivory Coast – All you need to know

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All is set for the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations final match between Nigeria and Ivory Coast at the Olympic Stadium of Ebimpe on Sunday.

The two West African countries will play each other for the second time at the ongoing tournament after their group stage encounter back on January 17 which the Super Eagles won 1-0.

Regardless of who triumphs, Sunday’s final affirmed that the AFCON trophy will remain in West Africa after Senegal won the last edition in 2022.

Nigeria are unbeaten in the competition having managed a run of five wins and a draw in their last six matches.

The draw came in their opening Group A game against Equatorial Guinea that ended 1-1. They defeated Ivory Coast, Guinea-Bissau, Cameroon, Angola and South Africa in the run to their eighth AFCON final.

Ivory Coast, on the other hand, suffered two defeats so far in the tournament [against Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea] and they upset 2021 AFCON champions, Senegal in the round of 16.

The Elephants advanced from Group A as one of the best third-placed teams in the competition after beating Guinea-Bissau 2-0 for three points in three matches.

Ivory Coast defeated Senegal via penalty shoot-out after a 1-1 draw at the end of extra-time and they proceeded to overcome Mali and Democratic Republic of Congo in the quarter-final and semi-final respectively.

Nigeria have scored seven goals and conceded two goals in six matches while Ivory Coast have a tally of six goals scored and seven goals conceded.

The 2023 Africa Cup of Nations final between Nigeria and Ivory Coast will be the eighth meeting between the two West African nations in the competition.

The Super Eagles are the dominant side with three wins while two games ended in draw. Interestingly, they faced each other in all the three AFCON editions Nigeria won – 1980 (draw), 1994 (Nigeria won 4-2 on penalties) and 2013 (Nigeria won 2-1).

All four of Ivory Coast’s AFCON final appearances have ended goalless and were decided penalty shoot-outs. They managed to lift the trophy in 1992 and 2015 after defeating Ghana twice on penalties.

Sunday’s final could be decided by whoever opens the scoring first, because Ivory Coast are yet to lose an AFCON game after scoring the first goal since 2010, same as Nigeria who are unbeaten in 22 matches when scoring first in an AFCON match since they lost to Egypt in 2010.

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