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Ivory Coast: From Best Losers to Finals

The host nation Ivory Coast has advanced from the brink of elimination to secure their place in the final after a hard-fought victory over the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Sebastien Haller emerged as the hero for Ivory Coast, scoring the lone goal of the match in the 65th minute. Starting for the first time in the tournament following injury, the Borussia Dortmund striker connected with a Max-Alain Gradel cross, his shot looping over the goalkeeper and into the net, clinching a crucial win for his team.

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The Ivorians’ journey to the final has been nothing short of miraculous, with interim coach Emerse Fae guiding them through adversity. After suffering humiliating defeats in the group stage, Ivory Coast rallied to secure a spot in the knockout rounds, scraping through as one of the best third-placed teams.

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Their resilience was on full display as they overcame reigning champions Senegal on penalties in the Round of 16 before edging past Mali in the quarter-finals, despite playing with 10 men for most of the match.

In contrast, it was a heartbreak for DR Congo, who had harbored dreams of reaching their first AFCON final since 1974. However, their hopes were dashed by Ivory Coast’s determined performance.

The victory propels Ivory Coast into the final, where they will face Nigeria in a highly anticipated showdown at the Ebimpe Olympic Stadium. This remarkable turnaround marks Ivory Coast as the first host country to reach the AFCON final since Egypt in 2006, adding to the excitement surrounding Sunday’s title decider.

Stay tuned for more updates as Ivory Coast and Nigeria vie for AFCON glory in what promises to be an electrifying finale to the tournament.

TheTimesonline

TheTimes.com.ng

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