AFCON: Nigeria renew qualification hope with a win over host

A William Troost-Ekong penalty gave Nigeria a 1-0 victory over hosts Ivory Coast at the Africa Cup of Nations on Thursday.

The Nigeria captain struck from the spot early in the second half in Abidjan as the Super Eagles claimed their first victory of the tournament and leapfrogged the Ivorians in Group A.

Ivory Coast spurned a host of chances and paid the price after Ola Aina was adjudged to have fouled Victor Osimhen in the area following a review by VAR.

The result meant Nigeria drew level with Equatorial Guinea on four points in the group, while Ivory Coast have three with one game to play.

Napoli forward Osimhen went close to giving Nigeria an early lead when he outpaced Serge Aurier but he was unable to keep his shot down.

That proved a rare opening for Nigeria in the first half as Ivory Coast dominated.

Christian Kouame was a threat up front for Ivory Coast but headed well over under pressure from Troost-Ekong.

Kouame shot on the turn after Zaidu Sanusi failed to deal with a bouncing ball but goalkeeper Stanley Nwabali blocked.

Kouame also pulled back across goal to tee up Evan Ndicka but he volleyed straight at Nwabali.

Nwabali then kept out a long-range effort from Seko Fofana and Sanusi reacted quickly to block Kouame’s follow-up attempt.

Nigeria seized the initiative early in the second half after Aina appeared to kick Osimhen in a challenge. Play was initially allowed to go on but the referee reversed his decision after reviewing on the pitchside monitor.

Former Watford defender Troost-Ekong made no mistake as he smashed home the resulting spot-kick.

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