The final of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations takes place at Alassane Ouattara Stadium on Sunday, with Nigeria slight favourites ahead of the Ivory Coast.
Hosts Ivory Coast are aiming to complete a remarkable turnaround, having underwhelmed in the group stage.
They lost two of their first three games, with manager Jean-Louis Gasset paying the price. However, they ended up as the fourth and final third-placed side to qualify for the last 16.
Emerse Fae has taken charge as caretaker boss and he’s inspired them to results against defending champions Senegal, Mali and Congo DR. Can the hosts go one step further, or will Nigeria’s march to the trophy continue?
Both teams to score - 5/4
While tournament finals can tend to be cagey affairs, there’s reason to believe both sides can get forward in this clash.
For all Ivory Coast’s resilience to make it this far, both teams scored in their first two knockout games at the tournament. They’ve often found themselves needing to fightback in games, which could be the case again here.
Ivory Coast were beaten 1-0 by Nigeria in the group stage and they head into this game with one clean sheet across their last five matches. Meanwhile, Nigeria have scored in all six of their matches at this tournament.
Nigeria were on a stretch of clean sheets, but they could only draw 1-1 with South Africa in the semi-finals. This Ivory Coast side pack a punch and momentum is with them given how they’ve roared back in the tournament.
With both teams looking dangerous, both teams to score looks like a well-priced bet here at 5/4.
Ademola Lookman to score anytime - 9/2
One of the stories of the tournament has been Nigeria winger Ademola Lookman, who still has a shot at being named top scorer. He has three goals to his name so far, with each of those coming in his last three games.
The former Everton, Fulham and Leicester winger has been making his mark in Serie A, with 20 goals across the last season-and-a-half for Atalanta. He’s taken that scoring form into this tournament and his role just behind Victor Osimhen in Nigeria’s 3-4-2-1 system is giving him plenty of opportunities.
Lookman is floating into dangerous positions and with each of his goals coming in the knockout rounds, he’s clearly a man for the big occasion. Lookman can continue his excellent form against the hosts and at 9/2 he makes for a great anytime scorer option.
Given that the hosts have fallen behind in four of their last five games, also consider Lookman to score the opener at 9/1.
1-1 Draw - 9/2
While these two sides have had very different paths to the final, they look very evenly matched going into Sunday’s showdown.
The Ivory Coast have progressed through by showing up in big moments, including Franck Kessie’s late penalty in their 1-1 draw with Senegal.
The hosts equalised in the 90th-minute against Mali while down to 10-men, winning in extra-time after drawing 1-1 in that clash too. Nigeria themselves are fresh from a 1-1 draw, so expect there to be little between the two sides in the final.
Nigeria have scored just once in all but one of their matches at this tournament, with even Gasset’s side restricting them to a single goal. Ivory Coast may not be able to shut them out, but they can keep this close and force it to extra-time, so a 1-1 draw seems like the most likely correct score outcome.
Ivory Coast to win after penalties - 15/2
It’s easy to see this encounter going the distance, especially with Nigeria winning on penalties in the semis and Ivory Coast doing the same in the last 16.
While Nigeria are fresh from a shoot-out win, the spirit of this Ivory Coast side is something to fear.
They’ve done just enough at every stage under Fae, with their shootout win over Senegal proving to be a springboard for their success. They could shade this on home soil and they’re a great price to win on spot-kicks.
This article was written by a partner sports writer via Spotlight Sports Group. All odds displayed on this page were correct at the time of writing and are subject to withdrawal or change at any time.