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2023 AFCON: Côte d’Ivoire through to final after narrow win over DR Congo

Hosts Cote d’Ivoire are through to the TotalEnergies CAF Africa Cup of Nations final after beating DR Congo 1-0 thanks to Sebastien Haller’s goal. 

The striker now prepares to face former club Nigeria as the Elephants chase AFCON glory on home soil.

Haller was the matchwinner in Wednesday’s semi-final, superbly flicking in Nicolas Pepe’s cross to break Congolese hearts.

His goal has thus knocked the Leopards out, setting up this fascinating clash in Sunday’s final.

For Haller, facing Nigeria with a trophy on the line represents a remarkable twist of fate. The Borussia Dortmund hitman has established himself in the Elephants after recovering from testicular cancer

Now the 29-year-old returns intent on breaking Nigerian hearts. Haller will spearhead the Cote d’Ivoire attack alongside Pepe as they target a historic triumph.

Victory would spark jubilation in Abidjan given this AFCON is on home soil. After struggling in their group, the Elephants have momentum despite unconvincing performances.

Against DR Congo they rode their luck, with Cedric Bakambu having a goal disallowed. But Haller’s quality shone through as he rifled home to book Cote d’Ivoire’s passage.

Nigeria will prove a sterner test, especially with Haller’s former teammates seeking vengeance. But in this form, the striker threatens to inspire Ivory Coast to their first AFCON crown since 2015.

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