Nigeria secured a memorable 1-0 victory against Cote d’Ivoire during the second matchday of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations.
The lone goal came from William Troost-Ekong, who calmly converted a penalty early in the second half, marking Nigeria’s first-ever win on Ivorian soil.
Head coach Jose Peseiro made strategic changes from the team that drew with Equatorial Guinea on the opening day, introducing Calvin Bassey and Samuel Chukwueze into the lineup.
The tactical shift to a 3-4-3 formation saw Bassey alongside William Troost-Ekong and Semi Ajayi in defence, with Zaidu Sanusi and Ola Aina operating as wing-backs.
Chukwueze and Lookman supported Victor Osimhen in attack, while Stanley Nwabali remained in goal. Despite the alteration in tactics, Nigeria initiated the game with the first chance, but Onyeka’s attempt from the edge of the box went wide.
Osimhen missed a clear opportunity in the 8th minute, failing to convert a one-on-one situation by sending his shot high and wide. Cote d’Ivoire retaliated, but goalkeeper Nwabali made a crucial save to deny Christian Kouame’s left-footed shot.
The first half concluded with a hard-fought battle in the midfield, setting the stage for an intense second half. Ten minutes into the latter period, Nigeria gained the lead through a VAR-confirmed penalty, showcasing Troost-Ekong’s composure from 12 yards.
Despite the advantage, the Super Eagles continued to create opportunities. However, poor headers from Osimhen and Onyeka prevented them from extending their lead.
Cote d’Ivoire increased the pace in the latter stages, but Nigeria’s defence, led by goalkeeper Nwabali, held firm, securing the crucial victory.
Following the triumph, Nigeria now sits joint-top in Group A alongside Equatorial Guinea, accumulating four points from their first two games.
The Super Eagles look ahead to their next encounter against Guinea-Bissau on matchday three, where even a single point would secure their progression to the knockout round.