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Afcon 2023 final: Nigeria vs Ivory Coast date, TV coverage, kick-off time and preview

Victor Osimhen, the Africa Cup of Nations Trophy and Sebastien Haller
Nigeria's Victory Osimhen and Ivory Coast's Sebastien Haller are expected to lead the line for their countries in the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations finals

An enthralling final of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) is looming after Nigeria and tournament hosts Ivory Coast avoided potential upsets in the last four.

In a tournament which has seen a number of fancied sides fall by the wayside, the two teams left standing are both former champions.

Nigeria have lifted the trophy three times, in 1980, 1994 and 2013, while Ivory Coast triumphed in 1992 and 2015.

BBC Three will show the final on Sunday (20:00 GMT), with viewers in the UK also able to watch on iPlayer and the BBC Sport website, while the BBC World Service will broadcast radio commentary in Africa.

The Super Eagles needed a penalty shoot-out to overcome South Africa in the semi-finals following a dramatic 1-1 draw which had seen Bafana Bafana net a 90th-minute spot-kick to equalise.

Ivory Coast then secured a 1-0 win over DR Congo, becoming the first tournament hosts to reach the final since Egypt won the Nations Cup on home soil in 2006.

The Elephants, who only made the knockout stages as a best third-placed side, had produced a thrilling quarter-final win over Mali to make the last four.

The two countries met earlier on in the tournament in a Group A encounter, with Nigeria winning though William Troost-Ekong's second-half penalty.

BBC Sport Africa provides you with all the information on the 34th edition of Africa's biggest sporting event.

Who are the players to watch in the final?

Nigeria are technically the favourites for the final, given Jose Peseiro's side are seven places above their West African rivals in Fifa's world rankings.

The Super Eagles boast the reigning African Footballer of the Year in the shape of Victor Osimhen, but the Napoli striker has only scored one goal at the finals.

That is not for the want of trying though, with the 25-year-old having the most shots on goal and accumulating the highest expected goals tally at the tournament, as well as having a late goal against South Africa ruled out.

Ademola Lookman has netted three goals for Nigeria, while captain Troost-Ekong has scored two high-pressure spot kicks.

Goalkeeper Stanley Nwabali, meanwhile, was on the brink of a fifth successive clean sheet before being beaten by Teboho Mokoena's late penalty in the semi-final.

However the Chippa United man then saved two South African penalties to help Nigeria reach their first final since 2013.

In coastal Abidjan, Sebastien Haller netted the winner for Ivory Coast in their semi-final against DR Congo, in what was the Borussia Dortmund striker's first start at the tournament.

Elephants winger Simon Adingra is also fit again, while Franck Kessie and Seko Fofana have helped drive the hosts forward through midfield and Evan Ndicka has played every minute at centre-back.

The final could cap a remarkable journey for interim coach Emerse Fae, who could win Africa's most prestigious trophy in just his fourth game in charge of his country

The 40-year-old was thrust into the limelight following the sacking of Jean-Louis Gasset after an underwhelming group stage campaign which saw the Elephants finish behind Equatorial Guinea and Nigeria.

Who has impressed - and who has not?

Equatorial Guinea striker Emilio Nsue has spent spells in England with Birmingham City and Middlesbrough
Equatorial Guinea striker Emilio Nsue is the top scorer at the finals, with five goals in four appearances

Many bookmakers had Senegal down as favourites to retain the title they won for the first time in Cameroon - and they justified that faith by reaching the last 16 with a 100% record.

However, the Teranga Lions could not get past Ivory Coast despite taking an early lead in their last-16 tie.

Elsewhere, the most impressive performances came from relatively unheralded nations Equatorial Guinea and Cape Verde, both topping groups they were given little chance in.

But the National Thunder fell by the wayside against Guinea, with tournament top scorer Emilio Nsue missing a penalty.

Cape Verde won Group B, astonishingly finishing above Ghana and Egypt, who were robbed of Mohamed Salah through injury in their second game of the competition.

But it was a painful end for the Blue Sharks whose Nations Cup run came crashing down in the quarter-finals with a penalties loss to South Africa.

Angola were surprising winners of Group D, with captain Fredy and forwards Mabululu and Gelson Dala their stand-out performers.

The Palancas Negras were impressive in their last 16 win over Namibia but found Nigeria's defence much harder to penetrate in the quarter-finals, where they were ousted by the Super Eagles.

As for Nigeria, they had eased through to the knock-out stages in solid, if unspectacular, fashion, but have grown into the tournament and emerged as the team to beat.

Morocco, meanwhile, were expected to be strong challengers following their historic run to the semi-finals at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar but the Atlas Lions were upset 2-0 by South Africa in the last 16 and their long wait for a second continental title will now stretch closer to half a century.

But some other big names have struggled - not least Ivory Coast early on, as the hosts were left sweating to qualify among the four best third-placed sides after losing two of their three group games.

The Elephants redeemed themselves against Senegal and then Mali, and could yet register a third Nations Cup title.

Cameroon also laboured, squeezing through their group before being sent packing by Nigeria, while fellow former winners Ghana, Algeria and Tunisia each only managed two points apiece in the group stage.

What happened in the group stage?

The 24 teams were split into six groups of four, with the top two in each group and the four best-ranked third-placed sides advancing to the last 16.

Group A: Equatorial Guinea (Q), Nigeria (Q), Ivory Coast (Q), Guinea-Bissau.

Group B: Cape Verde (Q), Egypt (Q), Ghana, Mozambique.

Group C: Senegal (Q), Cameroon (Q), Guinea (Q), The Gambia.

Group D: Angola (Q), Burkina Faso (Q), Mauritania (Q), Algeria.

Group E: Mali (Q), South Africa (Q), Namibia (Q), Tunisia.

Group F: Morocco (Q), DR Congo (Q), Zambia, Tanzania.

Africa Cup of Nations 2023 fixtures and results

Seko Fofana scores for Ivory Coast against Guinea-Bissau
Seko Fofana set the ball rolling for Ivory Coast, but the Elephants endured a rocky path to the quarter-finals

Saturday 13 January

Group A: Ivory Coast 2-0 Guinea-Bissau, Alassane Ouattara Stadium, Abidjan

Sunday 14 January

Group A: Nigeria 1-1 Equatorial Guinea, Alassane Ouattara Stadium, Abidjan

Group B: Egypt 2-2 Mozambique, Felix Houphouet-Boigny Stadium, Abidjan

Group B: Ghana 1-2 Cape Verde, Felix Houphouet-Boigny Stadium, Abidjan

Monday 15 January

Group C: Senegal 3-0 The Gambia, Charles Konan Banny Stadium, Yamoussoukro

Group C: Cameroon 1-1 Guinea, Yamoussoukro

Group D: Algeria 1-1 Angola, Stade de la Paix, Bouake

Tuesday 16 January

Group D: Burkina Faso 1-0 Mauritania, Bouake

Group E: Tunisia 0-1 Namibia, Amadou Gon Coulibaly Stadium, Korhogo

Group E: Mali 2-0 South Africa, Korhogo

Wednesday 17 January

Group F: Morocco 3-0 Tanzania, Laurent Pokou Stadium, San Pedro

Group F: DR Congo 1-1 Zambia, San Pedro

Thursday 18 January

Group A: Equatorial Guinea 4-2 Guinea-Bissau, Alassane Ouattara Stadium, Abidjan

Group A: Ivory Coast 0-1 Nigeria, Alassane Ouattara Stadium, Abidjan

Group B: Egypt 2-2 Ghana, Felix Houphouet-Boigny Stadium, Abidjan

Friday 19 January

Bebe celebrates scoring a free-kick for Cape Verde
Former Manchester United forward Bebe scored a 40-yard free-kick as Cape Verde reached the last 16 with a game to spare

Group B: Cape Verde 3-0 Mozambique, Felix Houphouet-Boigny Stadium, Abidjan

Group C: Senegal 3-1 Cameroon, Yamoussoukro

Group C: Guinea 1-0 The Gambia, Yamoussoukro

Saturday 20 January

Group D: Algeria 2-2 Burkina Faso, Bouake

Group D: Mauritania 2-3 Angola, Bouake

Group E: Tunisia 1-1 Mali, Korhogo

Sunday 21 January

Group E: South Africa 4-0 Namibia, Korhogo

Group F: Morocco 1-1 DR Congo, San Pedro

Group F: Zambia 1-1 Tanzania, San Pedro

Monday 22 January

Group A: Equatorial Guinea 4-0 Ivory Coast, Alassane Ouattara Stadium, Abidjan

Group A: Guinea-Bissau 0-1 Nigeria, Felix Houphouet-Boigny Stadium, Abidjan

Group B: Cape Verde 2-2 Egypt, Felix Houphouet-Boigny Stadium, Abidjan

Group B: Mozambique 2-2 Ghana, Alassane Ouattara Stadium, Abidjan

Tuesday 23 January

Group C: The Gambia 2-3 Cameroon, Bouake

Group C: Guinea 0-2 Senegal, Yamoussoukro

Group D: Angola 2-0 Burkina Faso, Yamoussoukro

Group D: Mauritania 1-0 Algeria, Bouake

Wednesday 24 January

Group E: Namibia 0-0 Mali, San Pedro

Group E: South Africa 0-0 Tunisia, Korhogo

Group F: Tanzania 0-0 DR Congo, Korhogo

Group F: Zambia 0-1 Morocco, San Pedro

Africa Cup of Nations second round fixtures

Mohamed Bayo (right) celebrates scoring for Guinea against Equatorial Guinea
Mohamed Bayo (right) fired Guinea into the last eight at Afcon for the first time since 2015

Saturday 27 January

SR1: Angola 3-0 Namibia, Bouake

SR2: Nigeria 2-0 Cameroon, Felix Houphouet-Boigny Stadium, Abidjan

Sunday 28 January

SR3: Equatorial Guinea 0-1 Guinea, Alassane Ouattara Stadium, Abidjan

SR4: Egypt 1-1 DR Congo aet (7-8 pens), San Pedro

Monday 29 January

SR5: Cape Verde 1-0 Mauritania, Felix Houphouet-Boigny Stadium, Abidjan

SR6: Senegal 1-1 Ivory Coast aet (4-5 pens) Yamoussoukro

Tuesday 30 January

SR7: Mali 2-1 Burkina Faso, Korhogo

SR8: Morocco 0-2 South Africa, San Pedro

Quarter-finals

Friday 2 February

QF1: Nigeria 1-0 Angola, Felix Houphouet-Boigny Stadium, Abidjan

QF2: DR Congo 3-1 Guinea, Alassane Ouattara Stadium, Abidjan

Saturday 3 February

QF3: Mali 1-2 Ivory Coast (aet), Bouake

QF4: Cape Verde 0-0 South Africa (aet, 1-2 pens), Yamoussoukro

Semi-finals

Wednesday 7 February

SF1: Nigeria 1-1 South Africa (aet, 4-2 pens), Bouake

SF2: Ivory Coast 1-0 DR Congo, Alassane Ouattara Stadium, Abidjan

Third place play-off

Saturday 10 February

South Africa v DR Congo, Felix Houphouet-Boigny Stadium, Abidjan (20:00)

Final

Sunday 11 February

Nigeria v Ivory Coast, Alassane Ouattara Stadium, Abidjan (20:00, live on BBC)

Africa Cup of Nations 2023 top scorers

Equatorial Guinea striker Emilio Nsue
Equatorial Guinea striker Emilio Nsue faces a nervous wait to see if he will win the golden boot for the top scorer at the tournament

5: Emilio Nsue (Equatorial Guinea)

4: Gelson Dala (Angola), Mostafa Mohamed (Egypt)

3: Ademola Lookman (Nigeria), Mabululu (Angola), Lassine Sinayoko (Mali), Mohamed Bayo (Guinea), Baghdad Bounedjah (Algeria), Bertrand Traore (Burkina Faso)

Afcon 2023 venues

Twelve years on from the end of a civil war that split the country in two, Ivory Coast is welcoming Africa's best footballers for the first time since 1984.

Six stadiums are being used in five host cities, with two in Abidjan.

  • Alassane Ouattara Stadium, Abidjan (capacity 60,000)

  • Felix Houphouet-Boigny Stadium, Abidjan (capacity 33,000)

  • Charles Konan Banny Stadium, Yamoussoukro (capacity 20,000)

  • Stade de la Paix, Bouake (capacity 40,000)

  • Amadou Gon Coulibaly Stadium, Korhogo (capacity 20,000)

  • Laurent Pokou Stadium, San Pedro (capacity 20,000)

All of the stadiums are either new or underwent renovations ahead of Afcon, with the government spending $1bn dollars on infrastructure projects around the country.

Originally scheduled to be held in June-July 2023, the tournament was moved to avoid a clash with the West African rainy season.

A colourful, bold map showing the outline of Ivory Coast's borders with location markers showing the five host cities for Afcon with stadium names and capacities
Six stadiums are being used for the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations in five host cities across Ivory Coast