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2023 AFCON final Nigeria 1 CIV 2: Five observations from Super Eagles disappointing loss to Elephants

Coast won the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations with a 2-1 victory over Nigeria in Sunday’s final at the  Alassane Ouattara Stadium, Abidjan.

William Troost-Ekong scored first for Nigeria while Frank Kessie equalized for the host in the 62nd minute.

Sébastien Haller scored the winning goal in the 81st minute, finishing an assist from Brighton winger Simon Adingra.

 

we presents five observations from the game.

 

1) Peseiro’s Tactical Changes

 

Super Eagles coach Jose Peseiro made two alterations to the lineup that triumphed over South Africa in the semifinals, bringing in Samuel Chukwueze and Zaidu Sanusi for Moses Simon and Bright Osayi-Samuel respectively.

 

However, both substitutions proved ineffective, as Peseiro eventually replaced both players during the match.

 

2. Haller’s Impact and Osimhen’s Struggles

 

Sébastien Haller proved decisive for the Elephants, scoring the winning goal nine minutes from time.

 

On the other hand, Osimhen struggled throughout the game, failing to find the net since his equalizer against Equatorial Guinea in the tournament’s opening fixture.

 

3. Aina’s Defensive Struggles

 

Simon Adingra’s outstanding performance earned him the Man of the Match accolade, as he troubled Nigerian defender Ola Aina and ultimately provided the assist for the winning goal.

 

4. Defensive Vulnerabilities

 

Nigeria’s defensive frailties, evident in their match against South Africa, were once again exposed by Ivory Coast.

 

The Super  Eagles conceded nine shots in the first half alone, ultimately conceding two goals, marking the first time in the tournament they had allowed more than one goal in a game.

 

5. Lack of Intensity

 

The Super Eagles lacked intensity against Ivory Coast, particularly in their forward press, allowing the hosts to dominate possession for much of the game.

 

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