Ivory Coast fans gathered in an Abidjan fan zone on Wednesday (February 7) where they celebrated the Elephants reaching the Africa Cup of Nations final with a 1-0 win over Democratic Republic of Congo.
A 65th-minute goal from Borussia Dortmund striker Sebastien Haller was enough to win it at the Alassane Ouattara Olympic Stadium and continue a remarkable recovery by the Ivorians who were almost eliminated in the group phase but will now take on Nigeria in Sunday’s final.
The hosts moment of fortune came when Haller, on his first start after recovering from an ankle injury, saw his misdirected shot bounce off the turf and over Congolese goalkeeper Lionel Mpasi into the net.
A 4-0 loss to tiny Equatorial Guinea and the subsequent sacking of veteran French head coach Jean Louis Gasset is now all forgotten amid the celebrations of Ivory Coast becoming the first hosts to make the final in the last nine tournaments since Egypt in 2006.
Ivory Coast fans will be hopeful the turnaround continues and interim head coach Emerse Fae’s reinvigorated side can deliver a third continental title to add to their 1992 and 2015 Africa Cup of Nations victories.
Nigeria, meanwhile, who defeated Ivory Coast 1-0 in the group stage, progressed past South Africa on penalties in Wednesday’s other semi-final in Bouake.