Brighton winger Simon Adingra described Ivory Coast’s Africa Cup of Nations triumph as “one of the most beautiful moments of my life”.

Hosts Ivory Coast produced a 2-1 comeback victory over Nigeria on Sunday to become African champions for the third time, with Adingra setting up both goals and being named player of the match.

“We did it together – we’re Africa champions and it’s incredible,” said Adingra.

“I’ve just experienced one of the most beautiful moments of my life and that’s down to the effort of everyone in the team.”

The hosts fell behind in the showpiece when Nigeria captain William Troost-Ekong headed in a 38th-minute opener against the run of play.

Second-half goals from Franck Kessie and former West Ham striker Sebastien Haller – who in July 2022 was diagnosed with testicular cancer and returned to action at Borussia Dortmund just over a year ago – sealed what at one stage appeared an improbable victory.

The Elephants suffered a 4-0 group-stage defeat to Equatorial Guinea and sacked head coach Jean-Louis Gasset, squeezing into the knockout rounds after finishing third in their section.

Caretaker boss Emerse Fae said: “When I think about all we went through, the hard times when we almost out and the matches where we came back in last minutes, we have created some miracles.

“We were close to humiliation but when we had a second chance, we were determined not to waste it.”

For Nigeria’s former Watford defender Troost-Ekong, the opening goal was his third of the competition and he was named the tournament’s best player.

Super Eagles head coach Jose Peseiro said: “My team is sad but for me they did what they could.

“I am proud of the way my players performed in this tournament.”

Ivory Coast brought the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations to a dramatic end on Sunday beating Nigeria 2-1 in the final to become champions for the third time.

The Elephants were the story of the competition as they sacked manager Jean-Louis Gasset after a poor group-stage performance and still went on to lift the trophy.

Here, the PA news agency looks at highlights from the latest edition.

Comeback kings Ivory Coast rise from the dead

After a shock 4-0 defeat to Equatorial Guinea, Ivory Coast looked certain for an early exit. The Ivorian Football Federation sacked French manager Gasset afterwards and brought in former player Emerse Fae. Having scraped through to the knockout rounds, they edged past big favourites and defending champions Senegal on penalties in the round of 16 in Fae’s first game in charge, then beat Mali in extra-time in the quarter-finals and secured a 1-0 victory over DR Congo in the last four. Given the nickname ‘Zombies’, they came back from the dead once again to beat Nigeria 2-1 in the final after going behind, proving you should never write off the Ivory Coast.

Much change needed for the Black Stars

It was a tournament to forget for Ghana as they failed to make it out of the group stages with just two draws and a defeat. A team that included West Ham star Mohammed Kudus, Crystal Palace veteran Jordan Ayew and Athletic Bilbao forward Inaki Williams struggled to help Ghana make any progress in the competition. Former Brighton manager Chris Hughton was sacked after less than 12 months in charge and the Black Stars have started their search for a new coach before the 2026 World Cup qualifiers in June.

South Africa defy the odds

Not many would have predicted South Africa would reach the semi-finals of the tournament and Bafana Bafana certainly caught the eye. Their biggest challenge came when they took on 2022 World Cup semi-finalists Morocco in the round of 16. Goals from Evidence Makgopa and Teboho Mokoena sealed a famous 2-0 victory as PSG star Achraf Hakimi missed a penalty late on for the Moroccans.

New heights for Mauritania

Mauritania qualified for AFCON for the first time in their history in 2018 and heading into this year’s competition they had new hopes of improving on their last performance. The Lions of Chinguetti were still searching for their first win heading into the last group game against Algeria and they pulled it off with a shock 1-0 victory to also send them to their first knockout match against Cape Verde. Mauritania could not pull off another upset against Cape Verde but they sealed their place in AFCON history with an impressive performance.

Rise in viewing figures continues

The Confederation of African Football (CAF) confirmed more than two billion people worldwide watched the tournament live on TV. Deals with many broadcasters, including Sky and BBC, have helped boost figures for the competition and CAF president Patrice Motsepe predicts the next tournament’s viewing figures will be even better.

Cancer survivor Sebastien Haller inspired hosts Ivory Coast to their third Africa Cup of Nations title with a late winner to seal a 2-1 comeback win over Nigeria in Abidjan.

Five of the last six host nations to reach the final had won the AFCON title, but the Ivory Coast’s appearance in this edition at one point looked unlikely, their 4-0 group-stage defeat to Equatorial Guinea leading to the mid-tournament sacking of Jean-Louis Gasset.

The resurgent Elephants, who under caretaker boss Emerse Fae earned the nickname ‘the Zombies’, fell behind when Nigeria captain William Troost-Ekong headed in a 38th-minute opener against the run of play, but it was cancelled out by Franck Kessie in the second half.

With less than 10 minutes remaining, Haller, who in July 2022 was diagnosed with testicular cancer and returned to action with Borussia Dortmund just over a year ago, found the finishing touch to send the 60,000-seat Alassane Ouattara Stadium into raptures.

Former West Ham striker Haller looked to fire his side into an early lead when he flicked Simon Adingra’s cross wide of Stanley Nwabali’s right post, and, while the Elephants did not make much of a handful of early set-pieces, the hosts controlled more of the opening action than their more cautious opponents.

Max Gradel, playing in his fifth AFCON, sent a bicycle kick from the Ivory Coast’s third corner into the side-netting, and there were little in the way of chances for Nigeria by just after the 25-minute mark, when a brief scuffle ensued after Victor Osimhen insisted he had been unduly elbowed by Evan Ndicka.

Nigeria boss Jose Peseiro was booked for a subsequent protest before temperatures and tempers were cooled with a drinks break.

The Super Eagles, seeking a fourth AFCON title, took an unlikely lead not long after Adingra called Nwabali into action with a sharp effort, when at the other end the Elephants could only half-clear a corner and ex-Watford defender Troost-Ekong looped his header past Yahia Fofana.

There was a nervy moment for Nigeria just after the break, when Nwabali stuck a hand out to block Adingra’s cross, but the clearance travelled only as far as Gradel, whose shot stung the legs of Calvin Bassey and allowed time for the Nigeria keeper to make the save.

Kessie was next to push for an equaliser, sending a diving header straight at Nwabali, moments before the Nigeria shot-stopper pushed Odilon Kossounou’s effort around his post.

The home crowd erupted when the hosts levelled with the resulting corner, Nigeria gifting Kessie a free header which he obligingly directed downward and past Nwabali.

Haller sent an overhead kick wide of the left post, while there looked worrying news for Nigeria when star striker Osimhen seemed to be in pain, landing awkwardly after battling Seko Fofana for the ball.

Though he had not succeeded with his earlier acrobatic effort, Haller succeeded in the 81st minute, when he diverted in Adingra’s fine cross with a raised toe, securing both the trophy and his own national-hero status.

The hosts survived seven minutes of added time, clinging on for the nervy but well-deserved victory.

South Africa claimed third place in the Africa Cup of Nations, beating DR Congo 6-5 in a tense penalty shoot-out after surviving a second-half onslaught during the 90 minutes.

Bafana Bafana appeared second favourites in the shoot-out after Teboho Mokoena hit the post with the first spot-kick to hand DR Congo an immediate advantage and the stage was set for captain Chancel Mbemba to hit the winner, only to see his effort saved by Ronwen Williams.

And Williams – who saved four penalties in the quarter-final shoot-out win over Cape Verde – was the hero again after he kept out Mischack Elia’s penalty to seal the win.

It came after a 90 minutes in which DR Congo threatened again and again, but could not find a way to beat Williams.

The goalkeeper was quickly off his line to deny Silas Wamangituka, clean through on goal after eight minutes.

Simon Banza appeared to be through in the 27th minute but he could not get the proper contact on his shot and it dribbled back to Williams.

As half-time loomed, Elia tried to find Banza in front of goal but Siyanda Xulu made a crucial intervention to stop the danger.

DR Congo remained the more dangerous of the two teams at the start of the second half. When Grady Diangana lifted a ball through for Banza he got enormous power on his hooked shot, but could not keep it down as it whistled over the crossbar.

Elia tried his luck with a free-kick just before the hour, but his curling shot was straight at the goalkeeper.

The pressure kept coming, and should have resulted in a goal in the 65th minute. Williams completely fluffed gathering a high ball, gifting possession to Elia. His cross was deflected but it fell to Silas, who had a glorious chance in front of goal only to drag it wide.

Substitute Ricardo Goss then wasted an equally glorious chance in the 75th minute, hooking over from point-blank range as he back-pedalled, making contact off-balance.

Having been under pressure for so long, South Africa had a great chance to win it with five minutes left when Mihlali Mayambela broke through the offside trap, but with team-mates better placed he tried to beat Dimitry Bertaud from a tight angle and failed.

DR Congo went to the other end where substitute Fiston Mayele got away from Xulu with great control, only to drag his shot across goal from a tight angle and ensure the contest would be decided from the spot.

Hosts Ivory Coast will continue to draw strength from adversity as they seek to complete one of the great Africa Cup of Nations comebacks against Nigeria in Abidjan on Sunday.

The Elephants looked down and out after a 4-0 group stage defeat to Equatorial Guinea that led to the sacking of Jean-Louis Gasset and left their tournament destiny out of their hands.

But after squeezing through as one of the best-placed third-placed sides, Emerse Fae has led his side past defending champions Senegal and within 90 minutes of an improbable third continental crown.

Fae, who was given the role on a temporary basis when his side’s future in the tournament was still unsure, said the uncertainty had proved a uniting force in turning their campaign around.

“The way we qualified, I think at a certain point our destiny no longer depended on us, so we said to ourselves that we are already dead anyway,” Fae told a press conference.

“So, we decided to give it our all, because we had nothing left to lose in the end. Gradually, we remobilised, we tried to become a more united group, and the results gave us a little more confidence.”

Belief may be sweeping around the host nation but Fae’s side face a mighty challenge in the shape of Nigeria, whose tournament experience has been the opposite of their opponents.

The Super Eagles eased through the group stages, including a 1-0 win over Sunday’s opponents, but were pushed to the limit in a nervy semi-final shoot-out win over South Africa.

Nigeria coach Jose Peseiro is relishing the emotions of his first Africa Cup of Nations experience and says he is undaunted by what is likely to prove a frenzied atmosphere in the Ivorian capital.

“I always prefer to play in a full stadium rather than an empty one, and my players must show the same desire and commitment on the pitch,” said Peseiro.

“This is my first AFCON, and the emotions in Africa are very special. There is joy when you win but it is difficult when you lose and it is important to find a balance.”

While the hosts are looking for their first tournament win since 2015 and a third overall, victory for Nigeria would bring their first since 2013.

Victor Osimhen is set to start again for Nigeria after missing the early part of the tournament with an abdominal injury, but wing-back Zaidu Sanusi continues to be a major doubt due to a hamstring injury.

For the Ivory Coast, Serge Aurier, Odilon Kossounou and Oumar Diakite all return from suspension, with Fae set to pick between Max Gradel or Nicolas Pepe to partner semi-final match-winner Sebastien Haller up front.

NB: You can watch the exciting action of the Africa Cup of Nations on Sportsmax and the Sportsmax App. Download the app from the Google store or the App store.

Siyanda Xulu will be proud of South Africa’s “dream” Africa Cup of Nations campaign no matter what happens in their third-place showdown with DR Congo.

Bafana Bafana will go head-to-head with the Leopards in Abidjan on Saturday evening with a bronze medal at stake, disappointed not to have made it to the final but happy to have come so close.

Hugo Broos’ men made it to within touching distance of the showcase game on Wednesday evening before eventually going down 4-2 on penalties to Nigeria after a 1-1 extra-time draw in the last four.

Defender Xulu told a press conference: “We had our own goal as a team. We wanted to go as far as we could.

“We know very well of our quality and especially from the coach who is one person who has always believed in us as a team.

“To go this far was our objective. Reaching the semi-final is a dream. Yes, we wanted to take it home, but we couldn’t, but we can be proud of the performance.”

South Africa’s campaign started in unpromising fashion when they went down 2-0 to Mali in their opening game, but they emerged from Group E as runners-up and dispensed with World Cup semi-finalists Morocco and Cape Verde before meeting their match in Nigeria.

Broos admitted the game would represent a mental battle for both teams.

He said: “We played a very good game against Nigeria. It was a great performance and we showed that we are a great team again.

“When you exit after 120 minutes, it’s always a huge disappointment. When you play so well, the disappointment is so big.

“The game tomorrow is special. It depends a bit on which team will be mentally recovered because also for DRC, it was difficult to lose like that.”

DR Congo’s chances of making it to the final were ended by a 1-0 defeat by hosts Ivory Coast, and they will head into the play-off having won only one of the six games they have played to date inside 90 minutes after drawing all three of their Group F Fixtures and beating Egypt on penalties in the last 16.

Defender Dylan Batubinsika said: “We have a mixture of feelings with the elimination, but our ambition is to go and get this medal.

“We have to stay mobilised to at least finish in third place.”

NB: Catch the exciting third-place playoff between South Africa and DR Congo on Sportsmax and the Sportsmax app.

Sebastien Haller fired hosts Ivory Coast into the final of the Africa Cup of Nations and to within one match of the ultimate redemption after beating DR Congo 1-0.

The Elephants had been on the brink of elimination at the group stage, sacked their manager before being reprieved two days later as the fourth best third-placed finishers.

They then came back from behind to beat Senegal in the last 16 and needed a 90th-minute equaliser and a winner with the last kick of the match to get past Mali in the quarter-final.

Now Haller’s goal has seen them reach the final for a fifth time and if interim boss Emerse Fae, who replaced Jean-Louis Gasset after the humiliating 4-0 loss to Equatorial Guinea, can inspire them to victory over Nigeria on Sunday it will cap surely the most remarkable turn of fortunes in any major international tournament.

DR Congo, winners in 1968 and 1974, posed a potent threat and thought they had scored after nine minutes but Cedric Bakambu had kicked the ball out of the hands of goalkeeper Yahia Fofana before bundling it home.

Ivory Coast, also two-time winners, created their first opportunity from semi-final hero Simon Adingra, the Brighton winger rising at the far post and heading across goal and wide.

Former West Ham striker Haller then tried an extravagant overhead kick which flew over the top of the Congo goal.

Haller, now with Borussia Dortmund, missed the chance of the first half with a free header in front of goal, eight yards out, from Wilfried Singo’s tempting cross, which he sent horribly wide.

Moments later Franck Kessie’s low drive from the edge of the area clipped the far post to leave the hosts frustrated at half-time.

Congo sent on Theo Bongonda as a half-time substitute and the Spartak Moscow wideman almost had an instant impact with a mazy run into the area, beating three defenders before lashing his shot into the side-netting.

Kessie stung the hands of Congo keeper Lionel Mpasi with a fierce drive with what was Ivory Coast’s first shot on target. It was their second that broke the deadlock in the 64th minute.

It was unorthodox, and a tad fortunate, Haller hooking Max Gradel’s cross into the ground and watching it bounce and loop over Mpasi into the net.

Incredibly it was the first time Ivory Coast had scored first in a match since the group opener against Guinea Bissau.

Haller should have doubled the lead with an easier chance but sent his lob over Mpasi and wide, but the Elephants held on to book a spot in the final which looked unthinkable a fortnight ago.

NB: Catch the exciting final between Ivory Coast and Nigeria on Sportsmax and the Sportsmax app.

 

Nigeria reached an eighth Africa Cup of Nations final after winning a drama-fuelled last-four clash with South Africa on penalties.

Goalkeeper Stanley Nwabali was the hero for Nigeria after he saved efforts by Teboho Mokoena and Evidence Makgopa in a 4-2 shoot-out win, which only told half the story of an extraordinary clash where VAR was at the forefront of the action.

Nigeria thought they had booked their place in the final when Victor Osimhen tapped home in the 85th minute to add to William Troost-Ekong’s second-half penalty, but referee Amin Omar was told to intervene.

A review of the goal showed South Africa’s Percy Tau had been fouled inside the penalty area at the start of the move and the score went from 2-0 to Nigeria to 1-1 when Mokoena made no mistake from 12 yards.

South Africa defender Grant Kekana also received his marching orders towards the end of extra-time before Nwabali made the difference to fire the 2013 winners into another final.

Osimhen had been declared fit ahead of the match but not even a minute had been played when he went down in pain after a tackle by Siyanda Xulu.

The Napoli forward was able to carry on but a quiet opening period occurred.

South Africa had spent the majority of the first quarter of an hour on the back foot but had penalty appeals waved away with 27 minutes played when Khuliso Mudau’s cross hit the elbow of Fulham defender Calvin Bassey, but his arms were tucked into his body.

It was South Africa firmly in the ascendancy now with Tau squandering a promising position with a weak shot straight at Nwabali before he almost got in again minutes later but his touch was too heavy.

Nigeria had struggled to create chances after a bright start, but Osimhen provided a reminder of his threat when he headed wide from a corner at the end of the first half.

The Nigeria talisman played a decisive role in the opener when he turned away from Aubrey Modiba with a wonderful pirouette, burst into the area and was brought down by Mothobi Mvala.

It was Troost-Ekong who stepped up for the spot-kick duties and his low effort went under the body of South Africa’s last-eight penalty shoot-out hero Ronwen Williams to break the deadlock with 67 minutes gone.

South Africa immediately pushed for a leveller and Makgopa flashed an effort wide before a dramatic finale to normal time occurred.

First, Williams dived at the feet of Ademola Lookman, who had been played through on goal, but Nigeria were able to celebrate in the 85th minute when Osimhen tapped home at the back post.

The Super Eagles’ jubilation would quickly turn to disbelief when referee Omar was told to review the goal by VAR.

Omar was shown a replay at the start of the move of Nigeria substitute Alhassan Yusuf catching Tau inside the area, which resulted in the goal being disallowed and South Africa awarded a penalty.

Amid the pandemonium, Mokoena kept his cool from the spot with 90 minutes on the clock, but it could have been even better for South Africa after Khuliso Mudau fired over with only Williams to beat in the sixth minute of stoppage time.

Nigeria impressively regrouped with Lookman testing Williams before a snapshot by Osimhen was also well saved.

Osimhen headed over soon after before Nigeria boss Jose Peseiro decided to replace him with Terem Moffi, whose first involvement resulted in Kekana being sent off.

VAR was again required with referee Omar eventually deciding Kekana had fouled Moffi, but the contact was just outside the area.

It ensured penalties were required where Nwabali stole the show before Kelechi Iheanacho rolled home to send Nigeria through to another final.

NB: You can watch the exciting action of the Africa Cup of Nations on Sportsmax and the Sportsmax App. Download the app from the Google store or the App store.

 

Ivory Coast interim coach Emerse Fae has warned his players it is not their “destiny” to win the Africa Cup of Nations, despite their remarkable run to a semi-final showdown with DR Congo.

Fae’s side fought back to claim a remarkable last-gasp win over Mali in the quarter-finals after being reduced to 10 men just before half-time following Odilon Kossounou’s dismissal.

Nene Dorgeles had fired Mali in front in the 71st minute, but Simon Adingra’s 90th-minute equaliser took the tie to extra time before Oumar Diakite grabbed the winner with almost the last kick of the match.

The Elephants also came from behind against Senegal in the last 16 after scraping out of their group as the last of the four best third-placed teams.

“We are aware that we have made a spectacular recovery, that when you look at the Mali game we survived miraculously,” Fae said in a pre-match press conference in Abidjan.

“It is that mindset which allows us to pull off miracles like that, but we are not going to relax and say that because we won miraculously it means it is our destiny that we are going to win the trophy.

“The miracle against Mali did not fall out of the sky, it did not just happen like that, it happened because the players kept on fighting and believing until the end.”

Fae was appointed following the sacking of Jean-Louis Gasset after a 4-0 loss to Equatorial Guinea in their final group game looked to have sealed an early exit.

However, Morocco’s 1-0 win over Zambia two days later kept them in the competition and they have continued to ride their luck ever since.

“It would be a lie to say we have nothing to lose but we have come a long way,” Fae added.

“We have come from very far, we have made every effort to get our heads above water, so we are not going to give up now and we are not going to fail for fear of not reaching the final.

“We will therefore manage it by telling ourselves that it would be a shame to put pressure on ourselves.”

Diakite, who was sent off after celebrating his winner against Mali, is one of four players suspended for the semi-final, with Kossounou, Serge Aurier and Christian Kouame also banned.

Nigeria striker Victor Osimhen has been passed fit to play in his side’s Africa Cup of Nations semi-final against South Africa.

Osimhen was carried off on a stretcher during Nigeria’s 1-0 victory over Angola with abdominal pain and was a doubt for Wednesday’s last-four clash.

But having not travelled to Bouake on Monday, the Napoli forward arrived a day later and managed to train.

A tweet from the Super Eagles’ X account read: “Victor Osimhen has been declared fit and available for selection in the semi-final clash against South Africa on Wednesday. He has joined the team in Bouake and has trained with the squad today.”

South Africa come into the match after last week’s penalty shoot-out victory over Cape Verde.

Nigeria boss Jose Peseiro offered a reminder that his team need to play at a high level if they are to book their place in Sunday’s final against either DR Congo or hosts Ivory Coast.

He told a press conference: “We’ve done a good job now getting to the semi-finals. We’ve showed good spirit and organisation.

“We play like a team together. We must play a high level match, we know the capacity of our opponent. We must play at 100 per cent or more to beat a very good team.”

Nigeria have not lifted the trophy since 2013 but Peseiro remained hopeful his side can triumph.

The Portuguese said: “My belief is that we can win this competition. But they (South Africa) also want to win AFCON, just like us.”

AFCON semi-finals will be live on SportsMax and the SportsMax App.

Ronwen Williams made four saves as South Africa beat Cape Verde 2-1 on penalties to reach the Africa Cup of Nations semi-finals on Saturday.

The Bafana Bafana goalkeeper also made a stunning stop at the end of normal time as the last-eight clash in Yamoussoukro ended goalless.

It was his fourth successive clean sheet in the tournament.

Cape Verde created the most chances throughout the game but were unable to make the most of their opportunities and South Africa, the 1996 champions, will now play Nigeria for a place in the final.

The first half was a cagey affair with neither goalkeeper seriously tested.

Kevin Pina had an opportunity for Cape Verde but headed well wide at the back post before South Africa’s Teboho Mokoena lashed a long-range shot straight at Vozinha.

A chance opened up for Themba Zwane after South Africa snatched possession and broke forward but he scuffed his shot wide.

Pina again missed the target at the other end after skipping around two challenges and Ryan Mendes also had an effort blocked after weaving through the area.

Cape Verde had the first chance of the second half when Joao Paulo volleyed wide but South Africa had an opportunity when Khuliso Mudau shot at Vozinha.

Garry Rodrigues could have given Cape Verde the lead when he got behind the defence just before the hour but he failed to get any power on his attempt to curl a shot around Williams.

Cape Verde stepped up the pressure and Rodrigues had an effort deflected for a corner and a Rocha shot was blocked before Jovane Cobral fired over.

Gilson Benchimol almost won it for Cape Verde in the second minute of stoppage time after racing onto a Logan Costa ball but Williams did brilliantly to palm his powerful effort onto the bar.

Extra time began with South Africa in the ascendancy but Vozinha came to Cape Verde’s rescue with two superb saves in quick succession from substitute Mihlali Mayambela and Mokoena.

Benchimol spurned another chance but neither side looked threatening in the second additional period and penalties became inevitable.

South Africa seized the early initiative in the shoot-out as Williams saved the first two spot-kicks from former Manchester United forward Bebe and Willy Semedo.

Zakhele Lepasa’s failure to hit the target gave Cape Verde hope but Williams then kept out Laros Duarte’s effort.

Vozinha saved from Aubrey Modiba in response and Bryan Teixeira finally registered for Cape Verde but Mothobi Mvala put South Africa on the brink and Williams completed the job by saving from Patrick Andrade.

The Ivory Coast fought back to claim a dramatic last-gasp 2-1 win over Mali in the Africa Cup of Nations quarter-finals.

Nene Dorgeles’ memorable strike put Mali ahead after Odilon Kossounou’s first-half red card for the hosts.

But Simon Adingra’s 90th-minute equaliser took the tie to extra time before the Ivory Coast won it in the final minutes of the match through Oumar Diakite, who was then sent off along with Mali’s Hamari Traore.

Mali missed a golden opportunity to take an early lead when Adama Traore’s penalty was saved.

Kossounou clumsily fouled pacey striker Lassine Sinayoko in the box before Ivorian keeper Yahia Fofana did well to get down and make a fingertip stop in the bottom right corner.

Traore tested the Ivory Coast’s defenders in behind but his appeals for a free-kick on the edge of the box were waved down by the referee, who showed the Hull player a yellow card for simulation.

The Elephants fluffed their best chance of the match after 40 minutes. Right-back Serge Aurier made a direct run inside before picking out Seko Fofana on the edge of the box but the midfielder put too much power into the strike as his effort flew over the bar.

A poor first half for Emerse Fae’s hosts was made worse when Kossounou picked up a second yellow and was sent off.

Sinayoko continued to wreak havoc, breaking away from orange shirts before a cynical challenge from Kossounou earned him a deserved red card.

Mali increased the pressure on their 10-man opponents after the break as they searched for an opener.

Amadou Haidara was unmarked on the edge of the area and he almost found the breakthrough when his long-range shot dipped towards the bottom corner, forcing Yahia Fofana into action.

But after 71 minutes Mali got the goal they deserved after a stunning strike from substitute Dorgeles.

Dorgeles, who was born in the Ivory Coast, picked up the ball in midfield before he took advantage of the free man and drove into space.

The Salzburg midfielder cut onto his right foot, producing a wonderful dipping effort which found the top corner.

The strike, which will be a goal of the tournament contender, had too much power and accuracy for Yahia Fofana to replicate his earlier heroics.

But in dramatic circumstances, the Ivory Coast levelled the tie on 90 minutes.

Seko Fofana’s effort crashed off a Malian defender and into the path of substitute and Brighton winger Adingra, who smashed home to equalise.

In the last minute of extra time, Ivory Coast stole the victory.

An attacking free-kick saw the loose ball fall to Seko Fofana, who let fly before Diakite managed to get a crucial touch, sending the ball into the net and the tournament hosts into the semi-final.

Diakite picked up a second yellow card after he removed his shirt during the celebrations before Hamari Traore was shown a straight red.

Yoane Wissa helped book DR Congo a trip to the Africa Cup of Nations semi-finals with a second-half spot-kick in their 3-1 last-eight victory over Guinea.

The Syli National had hoped to move one step closer to securing a first-ever trophy in the continental competition, and took an early lead through Mohamed Bayo’s penalty.

DR Congo captain Chancel Mbemba levelled things up before the break, after which Brentford’s Wissa took full advantage of Julian Jeanvier’s punishment with a powerful penalty of his own.

Arthur Masuaku netted the Leopards’ third directly from a late free-kick to wrap up the win and set up a final-four encounter with either Mali or tournament hosts Ivory Coast on Wednesday.

It was a lively start from Guinea, who quickly broke into their opponents’ penalty area and shouted for a handball when the ball bounced off the upper arm of Mbemba, with VAR ruling the contact was innocent.

Miscommunication between Guinea keeper Ibrahim Kone and defender Mouctar Diakhaby nearly spelled danger, both thinking the other had a handle on a loose ball, but Wissa could not capitalise on the early chance and fired wide.

Samuel Moutoussamy tried next for DR Congo, finding himself in plenty of space but only able to muster a weak effort, Diakhaby redeeming himself with the clearance.

Bayo toppled down inside the 18-yard box after making contact with Mbemba and, after some time, Algerian referee Mustapha Ghorbal pointed to the spot despite protests from the DR Congo players and manager Sebastien Desabre.

Bayo did not waste the chance, sending Lionel Mpasi the wrong way with a strike to the top-right corner for the 21st-minute opener.

The sides were back on level terms just six minutes later, when Guinea could not fully clear Masuaku’s corner and it proved costly when Marseille man Mbemba reacted quickly and lashed home the equaliser.

The Leopards had a chance to take a late first-half lead when Masuaku floated in a free-kick from the left touchline, narrowly missing Cedric Bakambu’s outstretched boot.

DR Congo had the better early chances after the break, but neither side could find a way to break the deadlock by the hour mark, when both managers made changes and Guinea substitute Facinet Conte scuppered his chance to make an instant impact.

Less than a minute later, DR Congo’s own substitute Silas Katompa Mvumpa was brought down by Jeanvier and Wissa stepped up, calmly powering past Ibrahim Kone as his side took a 65th-minute lead.

It was all over when  Masuaku’s 82nd-minute free-kick dipped under the crossbar and in.

Nigeria edged past Angola 1-0 to reach the Africa Cup of Nations semi-finals thanks to a first-half goal from Ademola Lookman.

The former Fulham and Everton winger crashed home the only goal of the game in the 41st minute as the Super Eagles, chasing a fourth AFCON title, came up against a determined resistance in Abidjan.

Jose Peseiro’s side will face the winner of Cape Verde against South Africa, who meet in Yamoussoukro on Saturday, for a place in the final.

Nigeria’s star striker Victor Osimhen twice went close in the first half with headers, the first when he got on the end of Moses Simon’s cross but could only guide this effort into the goalkeeper’s hands, then again when he nodded across goal after meeting Ola Aina’s long throw.

What would prove to be the winning goal arrived four minutes before half-time and Simon was the architect.

Alex Iwobi began the move with a sweeping ball from right to left. Nantes winger Simon found space with a well-time run down the wing and, having carried the ball to the byline, looked up and found Lookman. He evaded the attentions of Angola’s defence and hit a thumping first-time finish into the roof of the net.

Early in the second half, Calvin Bassey took the ball off the foot of team-mate Osimhen as he sought to execute a close-range overhead kick, the Fulham player nodding over the bar after Angola failed to clear a corner, as Nigeria sought to settle the game.

Minutes later, Angola came within an inch of levelling. Zini sprung Nigeria’s offside trip with an expertly timed run from a defence-splitting pass. Bearing down one-on-one against Stanley Nwabali, he opened up his right foot and despatched an effort that rebounded off the inside of the post and away to safety.

Osimhen thought he had made it 2-0 when his header from Bassey’s free-kick went in off the post, but the goal was ruled out by VAR for offside, to the relief of Angola goalkeeper Antonio Dominique who had allowed the ball to squeeze through his hands.

The Napoli striker spurned another chance to seal it with 10 minutes to play, racing on to Lookman’s ball out from the back and running through on goal. He was denied by a superb last-ditch block from defender Kialonda Gaspar who deflected the ball away.

Ivory Coast caretaker coach Emerse Fae has told the Africa Cup of Nations hosts not to get caught up in the hype as they prepare for Saturday’s quarter-final against Mali.

The Elephants saw off defending champions Senegal in a penalty shootout last time out but, despite that shock win, they have effectively limped to the last eight, having lost two of their last three matches, and having scored only three goals in four matches so far.

But while Fae has preached humility to his players, he did allow himself to suggest they could yet go all the way on home soil.

“We’re definitely not going to get excited,” Fae said. “We have come so far. We are going to continue to work on our solidity.

“We need to keep this state of mind which will give us the strength to perhaps go for the title.”

While they will have home support on their side, Ivory Coast are second favourites against a Mali side who have never lost at the quarter-final stage, having got this far on five previous occasions.

But despite that proud record, Mali have never lifted the trophy. Inspired by Lassine Sinayoko, who is bidding to become the first Malian to score four goals in a single edition of AFCON since Freddy Kanoute in 2004, they could well have a chance this year.

“We need to be humble and continue with hard work,” Mali coach Eric Chelle said.

“I am very happy for the players. We know that it will be difficult against (Ivory Coast), but we will bring our quality and give it our best against them. I want to emphasize the importance of humility in this victory.”

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