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Ivory Coast 1-0 DR Congo: The final awaits for the hosts as The Leopards are sent packing

This years hosts Ivory Coast, secure their place in the final of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations by defeating DR Congo 1-0, with Sebastian Haller’s goal proving decisive.

In a closely fought encounter in Abidjan, the deciding goal came in the 65th minute as Haller’s volley rebounded off the ground and soared past Leopards goalkeeper Lionel Mpasi.

Interim manager Emerse Fae now finds himself with the chance to lead the Elephants towards their third AFCON title, as they confront three-time champions Nigeria in Abidjan on Sunday (20:00 GMT).

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There was a cagey start to the game with neither side taking full control.

The Congo’s Meschak Elia looked lively early on as he would continue to make a nuisance of himself down the right wing, as he’d done in the previous matches.

The first clear-cut opportunity of the game came for the hosts as Haller’s header missed the mark following an excellent cross from Wilfried Singo in the 40th minute.

Franck Kessié came agonisingly close moments later as his effort cannoned off the post in the 42nd minute.

The first half, despite being quite an open contest with both sides committing men forward, would end goalless.

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The Leopards came out of the half time break looking the more dangerous side.

However the Elephants soon took control, the highly experienced Kessié kept pushing his team from the midfield.

The breakthrough arrived in the 65th minute as Haller connected with a cross from Max-Alain Gradel. The finish itself was a bit fortunate but Haller won’t be bothered.

The Borussia Dortmund striker had a chance to double the lead in the 70th minute when he sent a lob narrowly wide.

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The Congo did threaten at times but were out-played by this years hosts who continue their miraculous run into the final where they will face the side they lost to in the group stages, Nigeria.

Featured image credit: Ben Sutherland




  • Max Flanagan

    21 year old Sports journalist, born and raised in London, predominantly a football writer but is known to dip his toes into the worlds of Tennis and Formula 1. Lifelong Chelsea fan, constantly reminiscing over life before Boehly.