Connect with us

Sports

Hosts Côte d’Ivoire Elephants win AFCON, beat Super Eagles 2-1

Published

on

Sebastien Haller scored a dramatic late winner as hosts Ivory Coast fought back to beat Victor Osimhen’s Nigeria 2-1 in Sunday’s Africa Cup of Nations final and complete the most remarkable of major tournament turnarounds by claiming their third continental title.

Nigeria looked set to repeat their 1-0 victory over the Ivorians here at the Ebimpe Olympic Stadium during the group stage when captain William Troost-Ekong – who had netted a penalty to decide that first meeting – rose to head in the opener late in the first half.

However, Franck Kessie equalised just after the hour mark and Haller turned in Simon Adingra’s cross in the 81st minute to spark wild celebrations among the sea of orange in the Abidjan stands.

Ivory Coast’s success sees them add this year’s title to those claimed in 1992 and 2015, while this win also allows them to join Nigeria on three Cup of Nations triumphs overall.

Only Egypt, Cameroon and Ghana have won the title more often, with the Super Eagles squandering the opportunity to match their Ghanaian rivals on four victories.

Spearheaded by reigning African player of the year Osimhen, the Nigerians had looked the most formidable team in the competition over the last month.

But Ivory Coast’s sense of destiny was simply too overpowering, as they became the first host country to win the AFCON since 2006.

Didier Drogba captained the Elephants team that lost on penalties to Egypt in Cairo in that final 18 years ago, while this time he was among the spectators to witness a stunning victory for his country.

– Back from the brink –

It is an incredible achievement for a side that was on the brink of elimination in the group stage after losing 4-0 to Equatorial Guinea on January 22.

That was their heaviest ever home defeat and the Ivorians then parted company with coach Jean-Louis Gasset, replacing him with Emerse Fae, a teammate of Drogba’s in 2006.

They then began a remarkable turnaround which saw them oust holders Senegal on penalties, beat Mali with a last-gasp goal in extra time, and edge out DR Congo with a Haller goal in the last four.

Their supporters packed out the stadium to its 60,000 capacity, with many fans having to watch the game from vantage points on stairways.Related News

Anyone wanting to dampen the excitement levels might have pointed out that Cup of Nations finals tend to be low-scoring affairs.

There were just 10 goals scored in the last 11 finals, five of which were decided on penalties after a 0-0 stalemate.

Indeed, Ivory Coast’s four previous final appearances had all ended goalless before going to penalties, two of which they had won.

This looked set to be another nervy, low-scoring affair with chances few and far between early on.

However, the home side then had a great chance on 34 minutes when Kessie found Adingra on the left and his shot was turned away by Nigerian goalkeeper Stanley Nwabali.

That proved crucial as Nigeria went ahead just four minutes later when Ademola Lookman’s corner from the left was touched on and Troost-Ekong headed in from the edge of the six-yard area.

Earlier in the tournament the Ivorians would have crumbled in such a scenario, but they deserve great credit for regrouping at the interval and throwing everything at Nigeria.

Max-Alain Gradel’s netbound shot was blocked in front of the line by Calvin Bassey five minutes after the restart before Nwabali turned an Odilon Kossounou long-range piledriver around the post on 62 minutes.

They drew level from the corner that followed that, as Kessie -– whose late penalty had rescued the hosts against Senegal in the last 16 –- appeared at the back post to head into the net.

It seemed inevitable that a second Ivory Coast goal would follow and it duly did with nine minutes of the 90 to play as Haller got his studs to Adingra’s cross and diverted the ball into the far corner.

Behind for the first time since their opening match, Nigeria could not react, and Ivory Coast held on for victory.

AFP

Continue Reading

News

BREAKING: After Benin disaster, Finidi George resigns as Super Eagles coach

Published

on

By Kayode Sanni-Arewa

After the Benin Republic disaster, Super Eagles coach, Finidi George has resigned following moves by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) to get a foreign technical adviser.

Super Eagles media officer Toyin Ibitoye announced George’s departure in a social media post on Saturday.

He wrote, “News just in. Finidi George #FinidiGeorge_FG has resigned from his #NGSuperEagles manager position.”

Details soon…

Continue Reading

Sports

Euro 2024: Mourinho spotted with Sir Alex Ferguson at Germany vs Scotland game

Published

on

Former Manchester United managers, Jose Mourinho and Sir Alex Ferguson, were spotted together as Euro 2024 kicked off on Friday night.

The two men watched Germany’s 5-1 win against Scotland at the Allianz Arena.

13-time title winner Fergie and three-time title winner Mourinho could be seen deep in conversation at the game.

They then cracked wide smiles as they posed together for a picture.

“With the Scottish legend. I have to be with them! Great Man,” Mourinho said.

With the future of Erik ten Hag uncertain at Old Trafford, Mourinho took his next coaching job at Fenerbahce.

Continue Reading

Sports

Hosts Germany Hammer Scotland 5-1 In Euro 2024 Opener

Published

on

Germany thrashed 10-man Scotland 5-1 as the Euro 2024 hosts kicked off the tournament in style in Munich on Friday, the start of a journey they hope culminates in a record fourth continental title.

Florian Wirtz struck the opening goal 10 minutes in and Jamal Musiala soon doubled Germany’s lead with an emphatic finish.

A greatly awaited night for Scotland went from bad to worse before half-time when Ryan Porteous was sent off for a two-footed challenge on Ilkay Gundogan, with Kai Havertz tucking away the resulting penalty.

Niclas Fuellkrug powered in a fourth midway through the second half after coming on as a substitute and not even a late own goal from Antonio Ruediger could spoil an otherwise perfect start to the campaign for Germany.

There was even time for Emre Can to add a fifth goal with the final kick of the game.

Scotland could surely not have envisioned such a disastrous beginning, but they must regroup quickly with games to come in Group A against Switzerland and Hungary.

After three successive failures at major tournaments, including back-to-back group stage exits at the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, this was a strong statement of intent from an experienced Germany side.

It is Germany’s first men’s major tournament as hosts since the 2006 World Cup, and they are looking to recreate the magic that helped rekindle the passion for the national team after a spell in the international doldrums.

Germany coach Julian Nagelsmann had spoken of his players’ hunger to atone for the failures of recent times, with the outlook improving and optimism gradually increasing since his appointment in September.

His counterpart Steve Clarke on the other hand urged Scotland to “fear no one” going into the country’s second straight Euros after more than two decades in the international wilderness.

Almost right away Germany took the game to a Scotland side who arrived in Munich with only one win from their past nine matches — an unimpressive 2-0 victory over lowly Gibraltar last week.

Scotland goalkeeper Angus Gunn alertly blocked from an offside Wirtz, but Germany did not wait long in grasping the match by the scruff of the neck.

Toni Kroos, coaxed out of his Germany retirement earlier this year, pinged a ball out to Joshua Kimmich, who teed up Wirtz to sweep in from the edge of the area as Gunn could only help the shot in via the post.

Kroos will hang up his boots for good after the tournament, but with him and Gundogan running the Germany midfield they bring a level of knowledge and maturity few can match.

Gundogan threaded a pass through the Scotland defence to Havertz, who worked it back towards Musiala, the Bayern Munich attacker created himself space to crash a strike into the roof of the net.

Germany were initially awarded a penalty as Musiala went down in a heap after getting caught between Ryan Christie and Kieran Tierney, but referee Clement Turpin deemed the foul occurred outside the area after consulting the touchline monitor.

That merely delayed Germany’s third goal, which did eventually come from the spot following another VAR review that led to Porteous being sent off for a crude challenge on Gundogan, who was chopped down attempting to convert the rebound from his own header.

Havertz calmly sent Gunn the wrong way and drained any remaining optimism from Scotland’s once boisterous and sizeable travelling contingent of supporters.

Scotland tried to limit the damage in the second half, but there was no stopping Fuellkrug’s thumping drive into the top corner within a few minutes of his introduction as a replacement for Havertz.

Fuellkrug had the ball in the net a second time, but fortunately for Scotland they were spared further misery when he was ruled offside.

The only bright spot for Scotland came three minutes from time as Ruediger inadvertently diverted Scott McKenna’s header past goalkeeper Manuel Neuer.

But there was still more punishment to come as substitute Can curled home from 20 yards right at the death to cap a glorious night for the Germans.

AFP

Continue Reading

Trending

Copyright © 2024