#Sports

Super Eagles defeat Elephants to boost AFCON hopes

By Femi Atolagbe

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Nigeria yesterday edged out Ivory Coast 1-0 in a 2023 Africa Cup of Nations Group A match played at the Alassane Ouattara Stadium in Abidjan.

The win saw the Super Eagles climb up to the second spot on the group standings – level on points with leaders, Equatorial Guinea and they will now battle it out with Guinea-Bissau on Monday as they look to book their spot in the Round of 16.

Ivory Coast, on the other hand, slipped down to the third spot on group standings – a point behind Nigeria and they will be targeting nothing but a victory when they take on Equatorial Guinea on Monday.

The two teams attacked each other with speed from the start and the first real chance fell for Victor Osimhen who fired wide of the target in the eighth minute. Almost immediately at the other end, Christian Kouame forced Nigeria goalkeeper Stanley Nwabali into producing a decent save.

Both teams took shots at goal, but it was the Elephants who kept their attempts on target. Nwabali pulled off a good save to deny Evan Ndicka in the 15th minute before producing a fabulous diving save in the 31 minute – denying Seko Fofana as first half ended goalless. 

The Super Eagles exerted pressure on the Elephants after the restart and they were awarded a penalty with Ousmane Diomande having fouled Osimhen in the box. William Troost-Ekong made no mistake from the penalty spot as he beat keeper Yahia Fofana to hand Nigeria a 1-0 lead in the 55th minute.

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The Elephants were forced to push forward in numbers but they couldn’t keep their attempts on target. Seko Fofana, who had netted against Guinea-Bissau on 13 January, unleashed a shot that missed the target in the 86th minute and Nigeria held on to secure a 1-0 victory on the night.

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