AFCON

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The second group-stage match of the Africa Cup of Nations 2023 (AFCON) between Cote d’Ivoire and Nigeria will take place at the Alassane Ouattara Stadium on Thursday.

The hosts of this continental competition, Cote d’Ivoire, defeated Guinea-Bissau 2-0 to start their campaign. In the fourth minute of play, Seko Fofana gave the home team the lead, which was doubled in the 58th minute by Jean-Philippe Krasso.

Nigeria’s campaign got off to a very poor start as they were beaten to a 1-1 draw by a tenacious Equatorial Guinea. After Equatorial Guinea took the lead, Victor Osimhen of Napoli, with help from Ademola Lookman, equalized in just two minutes.

The three-time winners were largely wasteful in front of goal, netting just one from their seven efforts on target, and had themselves to blame at the conclusion of the ninety minutes for a stalemate.With a long-standing rivalry, the two sides have faced off 27 times in all competitions since 1967. Ten of the games have resulted in draws, giving the hosts a slim 9–8 advantage in the head-to-head record.When the two clubs last faced off in a friendly in 2015, the hosts prevailed 1-0. Since then, both teams have split the past four games.When they played each other in the AFCON quarterfinals in 2013, Nigeria prevailed 2-1. A week later, they would win their third and final crown.Fortunately for the 1992 and 2015 winners, host countries have only dropped one of their previous 38 group-stage matches at the Africa Cup of Nations (W23 D14).

In their six AFCON encounters with Cote d’Ivoire, the Super Eagles have prevailed four times (two of the victories coming from penalties), while the hosts have won two of the matches.It’s interesting to note that in four of the six tournament editions when they have faced off against the hosts, Nigeria has advanced to the finals.

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