The Africa Cup of Nations nears its climax after a thrilling pair of semifinals.
Football fans worldwide are on the edge of their seats as the stage is set for the thrilling final match and the battle for third place.
Here's a recap of how Nigeria and Ivory Coast advanced to the Africa Cup final:
Nigeria 1 (4) - 1 (2) South Africa
The deadlock was broken in the 67th minute when Nigeria's William Troost-Ekong converted a penalty, giving his team a vital lead.
South Africa fought back fiercely, equalizing in the dying moments of regulation with Teboho Mokoena's penalty coming in the 90th minute. The intensity heightened as South Africa's Grant Kekana was shown a red card in the 115th minute, reducing them to 10 men.
Despite South Africa's dominance in possession, with 61% of the ball, both teams remained evenly matched in shots, with 14 attempts each. However, Nigeria's precision in front of goal, with six shots on target compared to South Africa's five, proved decisive.
With the match deadlocked at 1-1 after regular time and extra time, it came down to a nerve-wracking penalty shootout. Nigeria held their nerve, prevailing 4-2 in the shootout to book their place in the final. The encounter showcased the resilience and determination of both teams, but ultimately, it was Nigeria who emerged victorious.
Ivory Coast 1 - 0 DR Congo
In the second semifinal encounter, also on Feb. 7, Ivory Coast clashed with the Democratic Republic of Congo in a showdown for a spot in the tournament final, with statistics painting an intriguing picture of the match.
The first half saw both sides evenly matched in possession, but it was Ivory Coast who capitalized on their opportunities in the 65th minute. Sebastien Haller's goal proved decisive, securing Ivory Coast's ticket to the final in a hard-fought 1-0 victory.
Despite DR Congo showing resilience, Ivory Coast dominated the game statistically, registering 14 shots compared to DR Congo's seven. Both teams managed to get two shots on target each, indicating a level of precision in front of goal. Possession also played a crucial role, with Ivory Coast controlling 57% of the ball compared to DR Congo's 43%.
With the statistics reflecting Ivory Coast's dominance in attack and possession, and DR Congo's resolute defense, the match showcased the fierce competition and determination of both teams. As Ivory Coast celebrates their victory, they now set their sights on the final, eager to claim championship glory.
Match for 3rd place & Final
This weekend promises to be a thrilling spectacle for football fans ahead of the highly anticipated matches for third place and the ultimate showdown, the Final.
In the battle for the bronze medal, South Africa will clash against Congo at the Felix Houphouet Boigny Stadium on Feb. 10. Both teams have showcased remarkable skill and determination throughout the tournament, making this encounter one not to be missed.
Meanwhile, the Final will witness a clash of titans as Nigeria and Ivory Coast lock horns at the Olympic Stadium of Ebimpé on Feb.11. The journey to the final has been nothing short of spectacular for both teams, with each displaying exceptional talent and resilience. As the anticipation reaches a fever pitch, football enthusiasts worldwide eagerly await what promises to be a riveting showdown between these football powerhouses.
With the stage set for a weekend filled with excitement and drama, fans can expect nothing less than top-class football action as the tournament culminates in these thrilling encounters. Stay tuned as the footballing world braces itself for the crowning moments of this captivating tournament.
AFCON in 2025 and 2027
CAF has determined the countries that will host the Africa Cup of Nations in 2025 and 2027.
In the statement, CAF announced that the Africa Cup of Nations will be held in Morocco in 2025 and jointly in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda in 2027.