2023 AFCON: Ivory Coast’s Haller sets up final against Nigeria
Ivory Coast’s Sebastien Haller (second right) celebrates with teammates after opening the scoring with a bouncer. Photograph: Franck Fife/AFP/Getty Images
Sebastien Haller scored the winner as 2023 Africa Cup of Nations hosts Ivory Coast beat DR Congo to set up a final meeting with Nigeria.
The only goal of a cagey contest in Abidjan came in the 65th minute when Haller’s volley bounced down into the ground and up over Leopards goalkeeper Lionel Mpasi.
The Borussia Dortmund striker should have opened the scoring just before the break with an unmarked header, while he also missed a chance to double the lead when sending a lob narrowly wide.
DR Congo did not look like getting a late equaliser, although Meschack Elia sent a volley wide of the left-hand upright and Simon Banza then fired well over in injury time.
Ivory Coast had sacked Jean-Louis Gasset as boss before scraping through the group stage, and had needed late goals against both Senegal and Mali to progress to the last four.
But interim boss Emerse Fae now has a chance to guide the Elephants to a third continental title, adding to triumphs in 1992 and 2015, when they face three-time winners Nigeria in Abidjan on Sunday (20:00 GMT).
The Super Eagles had reached the final earlier on Wednesday after beating South Africa 4-2 on penalties following a dramatic 1-1 draw in Bouake.