Cote d’Ivoire forward Sebastian Haller has stated that Nigeria will encounter a transformed opponent compared to their previous encounter in the group stage.
The two teams are set to clash once more, this time in the final of the 2023 AFCON on Sunday at the Stade Olympique Alassane Ouattara in Ebimpé, with a capacity of 60,000 spectators. This match will determine the champions of Africa.
In their second Group A match, the Super Eagles narrowly defeated Les Elephants 1-0, with skipper William Troost-Ekong securing the decisive goal from a penalty. Despite suffering a 4-0 loss to Equatorial Guinea in their final group fixture, the hosts managed to advance as one of the best third-placed teams.
Since then, they have demonstrated remarkable progress in the tournament, overcoming Senegal on penalties in the round of 16 and defeating Mali and DR Congo in the quarterfinals and semifinals, respectively.
Looking ahead to the showdown on Sunday, Haller, who scored the winning goal in the semifinals against DR Congo, asserts that Nigeria will face a reinvigorated Ivorian side and expresses confidence in his team’s ability to emerge victorious.
“It’s an advantage to both Nigeria and Côte d’Ivoire because we faced each other in the group stage so we know each other well. However, the approach to a knock-out game will be different from a group stage game,” Haller said during the pre-match press conference.
The Borussia Dortmund striker believes that the support from the home fans will provide an additional boost, motivating them to give their all and secure victory.