The game between Nigeria and Cote d’Ivoire started with a series of set pieces favoring the Ivorians, who sent in crosses that were easily dealt with by the Nigerian defense. However, as the first half progressed, tensions rose, and both teams seemed to struggle with the high humidity.
The cooling break at the 30-minute mark provided much-needed relief for both players and fans. It allowed players to catch their breath and cool their nerves amidst the rising tension on the field.
After the break, Cote d’Ivoire seemed to come out with renewed energy, putting pressure on the Nigerian defense and forcing goalkeeper Stanley Nwabali into action with a shot on target.
Despite having only 37% possession, Nigeria managed to take the lead in the 37th minute when William Troost-Ekong rose highest to meet a corner kick with a powerful header, beating the Ivorian goalkeeper and giving Nigeria a 1-0 lead.
However, Cote d’Ivoire responded strongly and found an equalizer in the 64th minute from a corner of their own. Frank Kessie capitalized on a free header, beating Nwabali at his near post to level the score at 1-1.
With the game hanging in the balance, Cote d’Ivoire continued to press forward, and their efforts paid off in the 81st minute when Sebastian Haller connected with an Adingra cross to put the Ivorians ahead for the first time in the match.
Despite Nigeria’s efforts to find an equalizer, Cote d’Ivoire held on to secure a 2-1 victory, advancing to the next stage of the competition.