Ivory Coast won the championship for the third time in its history on Sunday thanks to a late goal from Sébastien Haller. Haller helped Ivory Coast pull off an incredible comeback victory against rival Nigeria in a nail-biting match at the Africa Cup of Nations final.
After Ivory Coast dominated the first half of the game, Nigeria took the lead early on thanks to a header from captain William Troost-Ekong in the 38th minute. Franck Kessié tied the score in the 62nd minute as the home team struck back in the second half.
As the game got closer to the end, tensions increased, but Haller's close-range strike in the 81st minute was what sealed the deal for Ivory Coast. The 60,000-strong audience at the Alassane Ouattara Stadium went wild after the goal, celebrating in uncontrollable waves.
With this victory, Ivory Coast has won three Africa Cup of Nations titles. Their other two titles came via penalty shootouts in 1992 and 2015. The Elephants faced elimination in the group stage and then had to overcome Senegal and Mali in the knockout stages, but their route to success in this year's competition was not without difficulties.
Notwithstanding a strong defensive plan led by coach José Peseiro, Nigeria, who was going for their fourth championship, lost in the championship game. Ivory Coast's constant pressure was too much for the Super Eagles to handle, as they let up as many goals in the tournament final as they did in any of their prior games.
When the final whistle rang, announcing Ivory Coast's victory, Kessié's salute to the supporters summed up the festive mood that pervaded Abidjan and surroundings.