AFCON: Super Eagles defeat host, Ivory Coast
The Super Eagles of Nigeria have defeated the Elephants of Ivory Coast in their second game at the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON).
A second-half penalty from William Troost-Ekong was the sole difference as Nigeria beat the host country at the Olympic Stadium of Ebimpé, Abidjan, on Thursday.
The victory was Super Eagles’ first win in a competitive match since September 2023. The result also ended the team’s unsavoury four-game winless streak.
The Super Eagles entered the game under immense pressure following their 1-1 draw to Equatorial Guinea in the first game.
However, Jose Peseiro, the Eagles’ head coach, made just one change to the starting lineup of the previous match.
Calvin Bassey came on for the injured Alhassan Yusuf, who was ruled out of the Ivory Coast clash due to injury.
Despite playing the home team, the Super Eagles were the better side in the early minutes of the end-to-end encounter.
Victor Osimhen almost gave Nigeria the lead in the 8th minute after he was set through on goal by a defence-splitting pass from Samuel Chuwueze. The Napoli striker, however, skied the ball.
The duo of Ademola Lookman and Chukwueze were effective on both sides of the wings for the Eagles as they occupied Serge Aurier and Ghislain Konan, the Ivorian full-backs.
But the match broke for Nigeria early in the second half. Ousmane Diomande snatched at the heels of Osimhen in the Ivorian goal area, and the referee pointed to the spot. Ekong struck the penalty straight and powerful down the middle.
The Eagles held on for a vital victory that sent them second in the group with four points.
Nigeria will face Guinea-Bissau in their final group game on January 22.