The party begins as Ivory Coast wins Africa Cup of Nations

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ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast, Feb 12, (AP): Let the party begin.Sébastien Haller scored late to lead host nation Ivory Coast to a remarkable Africa Cup of Nations title with a 2-1 victory over Nigeria in the final.
Haller fired in from close range in the 81st minute to complete the turnaround after Franck Kessié drew the Elephants level in the 62nd.

It was Ivory Coast’s third title after wins in 1992 and 2015, both won on penalties.
Veteran Ivory Coast midfielder Max Gradel, now 36, was part of the 2015 championship team.
“Representing the national team is everything, and to have brought joy to all Ivorians with what I’ve done is even more incredible,” Gradel said Sunday. “Perhaps I don’t realize everything that happened today yet, there are too many things in my head, but I think I’ll take some time to realize it.

“The most important thing is that Ivorians are proud of the team and I think they are that tonight. Winning the Africa Cup this evening, there is nothing better, nothing better.”
Haller’s second goal in as many games after recovering from an ankle injury that kept him out of the group stage completed a personal triumph for the player, just over a year since he returned from cancer treatment.
Nigeria captain William Troost-Ekong had scored in the 38th against the run of play with a header to a corner. The Super Eagles had been outplayed in the first half and really only threatened again in a desperate attempt to equalize after Haller’s goal.

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