In a closely contested Group A clash at the Alassane Ouattara Stadium in Ebimpe, Abidjan, the Cote d’Ivoire national football team faced serious setback from Nigeria in a 1-0 defeat in Thursday’s AFCON group stage tie.
The Elephants, aiming for their second consecutive victory at the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations after triumphing over Guinea-Bissau in their opener, struggled to assert themselves against the Super Eagles.
The turning point came in the second half when the Ivorian side conceded a penalty, expertly converted by Nigeria’s captain, William Troost-Ekong, securing the lone goal of the match.
Despite a spirited effort and nine minutes of stoppage time, the hosts failed to break down the resilient Super Eagles, marking Nigeria’s first victory on Ivory Coast soil in 10 attempts.
Reflecting on the match, Cote d’Ivoire’s head coach, Jean Louis Gasset, acknowledged the challenges posed by Nigeria’s defensive strategy.
Super Eagles’ head coach, Jose Peseiro, opted for a tactical 3-4-3 formation that effectively stifled the attacking prowess of the Elephants.
Gasset conceded that his team struggled with the physicality of the Nigerians, emphasizing the tightly contested nature of the encounter.
“It was a very physical match; Nigeria chose to play very low with a five-man defense to exploit counterattacks with their star striker. It was a tightly contested match,” remarked Gasset in the post-game analysis.
The Ivorian coach pointed out the small details that favored Nigeria in the encounter.