Ivory Coast 1-0 DR Congo: Tournament hosts will play Nigeria in Sunday’s final after a narrow semi-final victory.
Ivory Coast booked their place in Sunday’s Africa Cup of Nations after Sebastian Haller’s second-half strike saw them win 1-0 against DR Congo
The hosts, who lost two of their group stages and sacked their managed mid-tournament, grew into the encounter and were unlucky not to be ahead at the break after Haller fired wide with a header and Frank Kessie struck the post.
However, the key breakthrough arrived after the break when Haller volleyed Max Gradel’s cross into the ground, the ball looping up and over a helpless Lionel Mpasi.
Ivory Coast, who last won the tournament in 2015, will take on Nigeria in Sunday’s final after the Super Eagles won on penalties against South Africa earlier in the day.
Sebastien Haller sends hosts Ivory Coast into Africa Cup of Nations final
Sebastien Haller fired hosts Ivory Coast into the final of the Africa Cup of Nations and to within one match of the ultimate redemption after beating DR Congo 1-0.
The Elephants had been on the brink of elimination at the group stage, sacked their manager before being reprieved two days later as the fourth best third-placed finishers.
They then came back from behind to beat Senegal in the last 16 and needed a 90th-minute equaliser and a winner with the last kick of the match to get past Mali in the quarter-final.
Now Haller’s goal has seen them reach the final for a fifth time and if interim boss Emerse Fae, who replaced Jean-Louis Gasset after the humiliating 4-0 loss to Equatorial Guinea, can inspire them to victory over Nigeria on Sunday it will cap surely the most remarkable turn of fortunes in any major international tournament.
The final is set
So it will be Ivory Coast against Nigeria in Sunday’s final. The tournament hosts last won the Africa Cup of Nations in 2015, while the Super Eagles are back in the final for the first time since winning the tournament in 2013.
What a game that promises to be.