AFCON 2023: 8 interesting facts about just concluded showdown in Ivory Coast
The Africa Cup of Nations finals concluded on Sunday, with Ivory Coast surprisingly lifting the title even after starting their campaign slowly.
The Elephants became AFCON champions for the third time after overcoming Nigeria's Super Eagles, who were hunting for their fourth trophy.
Senegal, the defending champions, were eliminated in the Round of 16 by the hosts, who progressed to the knockout phase as the third-best team.
Ghana, Algeria, and even Morocco, who had a sensational run that ended in the last four in the Qatar World Cup, could not mount successful campaigns.
With the conclusion of the 34th edition, we look at interesting facts that were recorded.
According to Opta Stats, for the 12th time in history, the host country have won the Africa Cup of Nations, and the first since Egypt in 2006. For Ivory Coast, this is their third title ever, after 1992 in Senegal and 2015 in Equatorial Guinea.
Nigeria have been eliminated in the Africa Cup of Nations final for the fifth time (after 1984, 1988, 1990, and 2000), equaling Ghana for the joint-most time a side has finished as the tournament's runners-up.
Emerse Fae is the very first manager to win an Africa Cup of Nations tournament without starting the edition as head coach of his team.
Nigeria have only attempted five shots (vs Ivory Coast), their fewest tally in a Africa Cup of Nations game since Opta collected this data (2010).
Nigeria’s William Troost-Ekong is the first defender or full back to score three goals in the same Africa Cup of Nations edition since Opta collected this data in 2010.
William Troost-Ekong (Nigeria) and Sebastien Haller (Ivory Coast) are the first players to score in both the CAF semi-final and final of the same Africa Cup of Nations edition since Gedo with Egypt in 2010.
Kessie has scored two goals in his last four Africa Cup of Nations games (one vs Senegal in the last 16, one vs Nigeria), after finding the net just once in his first 15 in the tournament. He has scored the very first goal for Ivory Coast in an AFCON final, for their fifth game at this stage.
Ivory Coast's Simon Adingra is the first player to assist twice in an Africa Cup of Nations final in the 21st century.
At 36 years and 73 days, Ivory Coast's Max-Alain Gradel became the oldest outfield player to appear in a CAF Africa Cup of Nations final since Opta collected this data (2008) and the second overall behind Egypt’s goalkeeper Essam El Hadary (37 years in 2010 and 44 years in 2017).