With their victory over Nigeria on Sunday night, Ivory Coast became the first nation since Egypt in 2006 to win the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) as host nation.
Once more, Sebastien Haller was the unsung hero as the Elephants overcame a deficit to win 2-1.
With nine minutes remaining, the Borussia Dortmund player, who had also scored the game’s winning goal just 13 months after recovering from testicular cancer, curled in Simon Adingra’s cross with the toe of his boot to complete a thrilling comeback in the second half and spark wild celebrations in Abidjan.
Seven minutes before the break, William Troost-Ekong gave Nigeria the lead with an incredible header from nine yards out after a corner.
With a 1-0 lead going into halftime, the Super Eagles were set to defeat the Ivorians and win an AFCON title for the fourth time.
On the other hand, Ivory Coast emerged from the break stronger and pressed for an equaliser.
After Adingra’s corner, Franck Kessie levelled in the 62nd minute as he found himself unmarked at the back post.
A few minutes before full-time, Adingra broke free down the right and sent in a cross Haller met to break the tie for Ivory Coast.
Following two losses in the group stage, coach Jean-Louis Gasset resigned, and the Ivorians had a thrilling run to the final where they deservedly won their third continental title.
Building on their two Nations Cup wins (1992 and 2015), the West Africans become the first hosts to win a tournament since Egypt in 2006.