Nigeria made a big move towards advancing to the next round of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations by securing a 1-0 victory over Ivory Coast in Group A, according to a report from the BBC.

The critical moment in the match occurred in the 55th minute when Ousmane Diomande fouled Victor Osimhen in the box, leading to a penalty. William Troost-Ekong stepped up to the spot and scored, putting Nigeria in the lead.

Despite a fervent crowd, Ivory Coast couldn’t find an equalizer against Nigeria’s solid defense. With this win, Nigeria moved to second place in Group A, trailing behind Equatorial Guinea, who beat Guinea-Bissau 4-2.

Ivory Coast, with three points from two games, must now beat Equatorial Guinea in their next match to secure advancement. Nigeria, with four points, is well-positioned and faces Guinea-Bissau in their final group game.

The report highlights concerns about the pitch at the Alassane Ouattara Stadium, which hosted the game. The dry pitch raised worries for club managers as players, including multi-million pound talents, participated in a match where the playing surface cut up regularly.

Key moments in the game included early missed opportunities for both teams, with Osimhen’s chance in the eighth minute and Nigeria’s goalkeeper Nwabali making a crucial save. The first half saw a dwindling pace, and the deadlock was broken early in the second period after VAR intervention.

Troost-Ekong, the Super Eagles captain, took on penalty duties and scored, securing Nigeria’s lead. Despite Ivory Coast’s efforts, they couldn’t find a way back into the game, leading to their first-ever defeat against Nigeria on home soil.

This loss also marked Ivory Coast as the first host nation to lose an Afcon group game in 18 fixtures, dating back to 2012.

The report adds a unique perspective by emphasizing the significance of the pitch condition and the historical context of Ivory Coast’s defeat.

The information is sourced from the BBC.

https://www.bbc.com/sport/football/67942217

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