Ivory Coast vs Nigeria LIVE: Latest Africa Cup of Nations updates as Troost-Ekong penalty breaks deadlock

The Africa Cup of Nations continues this evening with a much-anticipated battle between Ivory Coast and Nigeria. The result of this match could determine which nation finishes top of Group A. The Ivory Coast currently hold first place following their 2-0 victory over Guinea-Bissau in their Afcon opener and look like a confident force under French boss Jean-Louis Gasset.

Nigeria in contrast slumped to a shock 1-1 draw with Equatorial Guinea last time out. Ivan Salvador opened the scoring for the visitors before the Super Eagles’ talisman, Victor Osimhen, netted an equaliser two minutes later. Nigeria then failed to assert their dominance on the match and could not find a winning goal. They now need to triumph in a trickier contest against the Elephants in order to get their campaign back on track.

Nigeria’s last of their three tournament triumphs came in 2013 with the Ivory Coast becoming champions, for a second time, two years later. However, both nations have underperformed in recent years and will have their sights set on reaching the latter stages of the competition.

Follow along for the live updates plus get the latest Afcon odds and tips right here:

Ivory Coast vs Nigeria LIVE

  • Ivory Coast take on Nigeria in the Africa Cup of Nations

  • The Elephants are currently top of Group A after beating Guinea-Bissau 2-0

  • Nigeria are third following a 1-1 draw with Equatorial Guinea

  • 73’ CLOSE! - Fofana curls a shot wide of the target (CIV 0-1 NIG)

  • 55’ GOAL! - Troost-Ekong scores the penalty (CIV 0-1 NIG)

  • 52’ PENALTY! - Osimhen wins a spot kick thanks to VAR (CIV 0-0 NIG)

  • 32’ SAVE! - Nwabili denies Seko Fofana after a long range shot (CIV 0-0 NIG)

  • 15’ CLOSE! - Ndicka shoots but hits Nwabili in goal (CIV 0-0 NIG)

  • 9’ CHANCE! - Osimhen lifts one over the top (CIV 0-0 NIG)

FT Ivory Coast 0-1 Nigeria

19:26 , Mike Jones

How’s Group A shaping up now?

Equatorial Guinea beat Guinea-Bissau 4-2 earlier today and moved to the top of the group with four points. Just behind them are the Super Eagles.

Nigeria also have four points through a draw and a win from their opening two games, but their goal difference is one fewer than Equatorial Guinea’s.

Ivory Coast are third with three points, and Guinea-Bissau are bottom with zero after two losses.

Full-time! Ivory Coast 0-1 Nigeria

19:01 , Mike Jones

90+9 mins: Nigeria where under a serious amount of pressure and there goes the whistle.

They’ve claimed a big, big victory over Ivory Coast in Group A and now have a huge opportunity to get into the knockout rounds with a match against Guinea-Bissau still to come.

Ivory Coast 0-1 Nigeria

18:57 , Mike Jones

90+5 mins: The Nigerian players are trying to eke minutes out of the game. Going down and taking their time recovering from minor injuries.

Nigeria have never beaten Ivory Coast in their own backyard and they’re mere minutes away from a big win.

Ivory Coast 0-1 Nigeria

18:51 , Mike Jones

90 mins: Bassey gives away another corner and the crowd starts to increase the noise as Ivory Coast look to equalise.

There’s a massive nine minutes of added time to play yet.

The corner comes to nothing.

Ivory Coast 0-1 Nigeria

18:45 , Mike Jones

83 mins: An Ivory Coast corner is floated into the box but Nigeria clear their lines. They burst ip the pitch but hold onto possession too long,

Bright Osayi-Samuel dances into the box and looks to shoot but he takes too many touches and gets brought down.

Ivory Coast 0-1 Nigeria

18:43 , Mike Jones

80 mins: Into the final 10 minutes now and Ivory Coast have flooded the pitch with attacking players in order to find a way through Nigeria.

The Super Eagles are happy to just defend this lead but with the way the momentum is turning they’ll have to be perfect in defence.

Ivory Coast 0-1 Nigeria

18:36 , Mike Jones

76 mins: A corner for Ivory Coast, who are started to control this second half, sees the ball swung over to the far side of the penalty area.

Evan Ndicka leaps into the air and powers a headed effort over the top of the crossbar. Nigeria are hanging on.

Ivory Coast 0-1 Nigeria

18:35 , Mike Jones

73 mins: Chance! Ivory Coast have made a few changes, one of which is Nicolas Pepe, who makes an enterprising run down the right wing.

He gets into the box as the ball comes over the top only for Stanley Nwabili to push the ball away from him. The hosts regain possession and pull it back to Seko Fofana who curls a shot wide of the far post.

Ivory Coast 0-1 Nigeria

18:32 , Mike Jones

70 mins: 20 minutes to go and the second cooling break is taken. It’s a chance for both teams to reset and come up with a method to get through this match.

All the pressure is now on Ivory Coast who will drop to third place should they lose.

Ivory Coast 0-1 Nigeria

18:29 , Mike Jones

67 mins: Another long throw in from Ola Aina sees him chuck the ball into the box. Nigeria believe this to be a viable tactic as Troost-Ekong heads into the penalty area to provide an option.

He doesn’t win the aerial challenge and Ivory Coast clear their lines.

Ivory Coast 0-1 Nigeria

18:26 , Mike Jones

64 mins: Ivory Coast are slightly opening themselves up as they look for an equaliser. Aina gives away a free kick after fouling Boga meaning the hosts have an opportunity to whip the ball into the box.

Diomande wins the header as the ball is lofted in but he turns it wide of the post.

Ivory Coast 0-1 Nigeria

18:23 , Mike Jones

61 mins: A long throw in from Nigeria sees the ball flung into the six yard box where Osimhen gets his head to it. He tries to whip the effort towards goal but sends it slightly wide of the near post.

Nigeria are turning up the heat here.

Ivory Coast 0-1 Nigeria

18:19 , Mike Jones

58 mins: Ivory Coast come down the right wing and whip a cross into the penalty area. Jean-Philippe Krasso is the target but the ball flicks over his head and is nodded away by Ola Aina.

Decent response from the hosts to going behind.

GOAL! Ivory Coast 0-1 Nigeria (Troost-Ekong, 55’)⚽️

18:16 , Mike Jones

55 mins: William Troost-Ekong steps up for Nigeria and smokes the shot straight into the back of the net as Yahi Fofana leaps to the left.

Nigeria take the lead!

Ivory Coast 0-0 Nigeria

18:14 , Mike Jones

51 mins: There’s a VAR call happening for a potential Nigerian penalty. The ball bobbles into the box and Victor Osimhen sticks out his leg to win the ball.

Ousmane Diomande kicks the underside of his leg and brings the striker down. The video referee brings the on field official over to the pitchside monitor.

He looks through the replays and points to the spot!

Ivory Coast 0-0 Nigeria

18:10 , Mike Jones

48 mins: It’s been a slow and steady start to the second half with Nigeria fighting for possession in the middle of the pitch. Bassey is getting slightly further forward but there’s not a great deal of urgency from the hosts who seem content to take their time and build up slowly.

Second half! Ivory Coast 0-0 Nigeria

18:07 , Mike Jones

Ivory Coast get the ball rolling in this second half and work it over to the right wing where it bounces out of play for a Nigeria throw in.

Kouame and Bassey come to blows in an attempt to win the same aerial ball with the Nigerian coming off slightly worse.

Ivory Coast 0-0 Nigeria

18:05 , Mike Jones

The players are waiting in the tunnel before they head out for the second half. Both teams are handling the occasion well enough but they’ll need to change things up if either wants to win tonight.

Let’s see how the next 45 minutes plays out.

HT Ivory Coast 0-0 Nigeria

17:57 , Mike Jones

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)
 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Half-time! Ivory Coast 0-0 Nigeria

17:50 , Mike Jones

45+3 mins: The teams head into the break with honours even. The Nigerian players have a conference on the pitch before they head down the tunnel.

They need more intensity and creativity in the second half if they want to win this one. Ivory Coast will be happy enough with how they’re playing.

Ivory Coast 0-0 Nigeria

17:47 , Mike Jones

45 mins: Three minutes of added time to play in this half. Nigeria are probably edging it in terms of big chances though it’s an incredibly tight contest.

One goal may be enough to secure the points.

Ivory Coast 0-0 Nigeria

17:44 , Mike Jones

42 mins: Just a few minutes to go until half-time and nothing to separate the teams despite a couple of decent chances for both. Will we get an opener before the end of the first half?

Chukwueze gives away a free kick on the right sid eof the pitch but Ivory Coast can’t complete a decent drive down the line and Nigeria win back possession.

Ivory Coast 0-0 Nigeria

17:41 , Mike Jones

39 mins: There seems to be a bit of frustration in Victor Osimhen after a loose pass from Samuel Chukwueze heads out of play. The visitors are playing well but they need to click inside the final third to really have a chance at upsetting Ivory Coast.

Ivory Coast 0-0 Nigeria

17:38 , Mike Jones

36 mins: Ademola Lookman whips a free kick into the box for Nigeria. There’s a bit of argy bargy before the set piece is taken but Semi Ajayi manages to get free and reach the ball.

It strikes him on the hand and flies over the crossbar for a goal kick. Some of the Nigerian players appeal for handball not realising it hit their own teammate.

Ivory Coast 0-0 Nigeria

17:33 , Mike Jones

33 mins: Save!

Seko Fofana blazes a fine effort from a long way out and gets the ball to swerve past the nearest defender and back in towards goal.

Stanley Nwabili parries the ball away to Christian Kouame whose effort is then blocked just as the offside flag is raised against him.

Ivory Coast 0-0 Nigeria

17:31 , Mike Jones

30 mins: William Troost-Ekong covers brilliantly as Krasso is played in behind Semi Ajayi. The Nigerian captain beats the forward to the loose ball and boots it out of play before being clattered by the sprinting striker.

It’s brave defending and now he’s suffering for it. The centre-back stays down and clutches the back of his leg as the physios come on to check him over.

Ivory Coast 0-0 Nigeria

17:29 , Mike Jones

27 mins: After the first cooling break, the match resumes with Ivory Coast on the front foot. Nigeria look defensively solid and stay deep when the hosts have possession. Jeremie Boga runs into a cluster of white shirts and can;t feed the ball out wide.

There needs to be more creativity from Ivory Coast when they’re in control. They have only been threatening on the counter so far.

Ivory Coast 0-0 Nigeria

17:27 , Mike Jones

24 mins: Nigeria burst forward once again and find Alex Iwobi. He’s flying as he heads into the box and belts a shot away but the effort is well blocked again by Roma’s Evan Ndicka.

Ivory Coast 0-0 Nigeria

17:24 , Mike Jones

21 mins: An enterprising overhead kick attempt from Osimhen is blocked just inside the box and Ivory Coast burst forward on the counter once more.

Ibrahim Sangare threads the ball over to Jean-Philippe Krasso but his pass back into the penalty area is intercepted and cleared. The hosts are lightning quick on that counter-attack with Nigeria unable to keep up with them.

Ivory Coast 0-0 Nigeria

17:20 , Mike Jones

18 mins: Zaidu Sanusi is down after a challenge from Franck Kessie. The Nigerian defender twists his ankle on the way to the deck and needs a bit of treatment on the side of the pitch.

The Nigerian fans are making a lot of noise and are generally enjoying themselves. It’s good to see.

Ivory Coast 0-0 Nigeria

17:17 , Mike Jones

15 mins: Close! A diagonal ball comes across the pitch to Kouame on the right side of the penalty area. He pulls the ball back on the volley and sets up Evan Ndicka to take a shot.

He hits it well but the effort is directed straight at Nwabili who clings onto the ball without too much trouble.

Ivory Coast 0-0 Nigeria

17:14 , Mike Jones

12 mins: There’s a few nerves in the Ivory Coast defence especially when the ball is whipped in towards Victor Osimhen. Nigeria win themselves a corner that is swung in by Zaidu Sanusi.

Alex Iwobi almost reaches it with a lunging header but he’s forced to track back as the hosts counter. Seko Fofana drives the ball forward before Iwobi catches him and brings him to the ground.

Ivory Coast 0-0 Nigeria

17:11 , Mike Jones

9 mins: Oh there’s the chance!

Nigeria should be ahead. Samuel Chukwueze drifts inside from the right and receives the ball in the middle of the pitch. He flicks a superb ball over the defence as Victor Osimhem runs through the lines.

Osimhen brings the ball under control then lifts his shot across the face of goal. Yahia Fofana is beaten but the ball sails over the crossbar and the chance goes begging.

At the other end, Ivory Coast pile pressure on the Nigerian defence with Kouame smoking a shot at Stenly Nwabili who keeps it out with his chest.

Ivory Coast 0-0 Nigeria

17:08 , Mike Jones

6 mins: Christian Kouame and Serge Aurier combine wonderfully on the right wing for Ivory Coast and Kouame manages to cut inside before laying the ball back off to Aurier.

He’s stuck on his heels and can’t get off a cross before the nearest defender closes him down and boots the ball clear.

Ivory Coast 0-0 Nigeria

17:05 , Mike Jones

3 mins: The first chance of the match falls to Nigeria who weave the ball down the left side of the pitch and thread it into the penalty area.

A pass back to Semi Ajayi sees the defender let fly with a long range effort but he skews his shot well wide of the far post and concedes a goal kick.

Decent start from Nigeria though.

Kick off! Ivory Coast 0-0 Nigeria

17:02 , Mike Jones

Nigeria get the ball rolling for this Group A encounter. They have never won in the Ivory Coast and now need to perform following their opening draw with Equatorial Guinea.

Playing in white, which is rumoured to be unlucky for the Super Eagles, they work the ball over to the right side of the pitch but the hosts gain possession and look to build slowly from the back.

Ivory Coast vs Nigeria

16:55 , Mike Jones

Ivory Coast have made two changes for today’s game.

Nottingham Forest’s Serge Aurier replaces Wilfried Singo at right-back, and Christian Kouame comes in for Jonathan Bamba on the left wing.

Meanwhile, Nigeria winger Samuel Chukwueze replaces Moses Simon on the right flank, with Fulham defender Calvin Bassey replacing midfielder Alhassan Yusuf.

How will Ivory Coast cope?

16:50 , Mike Jones

Galatasaray winger Wilfried Zaha was not called up for the Ivory Coast by manager Jean-Louis Gasset in what was a surprising move.

Sebastien Haller and Simon Adingra have been included in the squad despite struggling with ankle and hamstring issues respectively.

Haller could potentially feature this evening against Nigeria.

Can Nigeria win Afcon?

16:45 , Mike Jones

Nigeria’s strength in depth up front is their main threat. Victor Osimhen is their star player and he will be supported by AC Milan winger Samuel Chukwueze, Atalanta’s Ademola Lookman and more.

If head coach Jose Peseiro can strike the right balance between defence and attack, then Nigeria should go far, but their form over the past 12 months has been underwhelming as was their opening draw against Equatorial Guinea.

What is the format for Afcon?

16:40 , Mike Jones

There are 24 teams, who can name squads of up to 27 players, which are split into six groups of four.

Nigeria have been drawn in Group A with Equatorial Guinea, Guinea-Bissau and hosts Ivory Coast for example. They will play each other once and the top two teams in each group will advance to the knockout stages.

They will be joined by the four best third-placed sides, which means only one-third of the teams get eliminated in the group stages.

The rest of the tournament will be single-legged knockout ties, culminating in the final on Sunday, February 11.

Morocco made to work hard for opening AFCON victory over Tanzania

16:35 , Mike Jones

Goals from Romain Saiss, Azz-Eddine Ounahi and Youssef En Nesyri fired Morocco to a 3-0 win over Tanzania in a one-sided Africa Cup of Nations opener.

Former Wolves defender Saiss struck in the first half but, despite their total dominance, Morocco had to wait until the unfancied Tanzanians were reduced to 10 men late in the second half before finishing them off.

While Morocco could boast the likes of Paris St Germain defender Achraf Hakimi and Manchester United midfielder Sofyan Amrabat, Tanzania started with Tarryn Allarakhia of Wealdstone in attack.

Morocco made to work hard for opening AFCON victory over Tanzania

Afcon schedule, fixtures, results and start times

16:30 , Mike Jones

The Africa Cup of Nations is back as Ivory Coast play host for the second time in the competition’s history.

Of the 24 nations taking part in Afcon, Senegal have been installed as the pre-tournament favourites, with a raft of top players including Sadio Mane, Edouard Mendy, Kalidou Koulibaly and Nicolas Jackson.

But the reigning champions will face stiff competition for the trophy from the team they beat in the final shootout three years ago, Mohamed Salah’s Egypt, as well as Morocco, Algeria, Nigeria, Cameroon and hosts Ivory Coast.

Afcon schedule, fixtures, results and start times

Tonight’s venue

16:25 , Mike Jones

The Alassane Ouattara Stadium, also known as the Olympic Stadium of Ebimpe and previously the National Stadium of the Ivory Coast is the venue for this evening’s match.

It holds 60,012 people and is named after the incumbent Ivorian president.

Victor Osimhen will play in the Premier League ‘one day’

16:20 , Mike Jones

Victor Osimhen has vowed to play in the Premier League “one day”, but he doesn’t know when that day will be.

The Napoli striker is one of the sought-after players in Europe right now and both Arsenal and Chelsea have been linked with a move for the 25-year-old.

But Osimhen, who is currently on international duty at the Africa Cup of Nations with Nigeria, suggested he would not be moving to England imminently.

“Of course one day, definitely, but for now I have other plans in my career I am looking forward to. When the time comes, everyone will know.”

Ivory Coast vs Nigeria

16:15 , Mike Jones

This is the 34th edition of the Africa Cup of Nations and started on January 13 when hosts Ivory Coast beat Guinea-Bissau 2-0.

The biennial competition, which first took place in 1957, sees 24 teams battle it out to be crowned Africa’s champions. At the last Afcon, Senegal beat Egypt on penalties to win the tournament for the first time.

Will Aliou Cisse’s side, led by Sadio Mane and Kalidou Koulibaly, repeat their success?

Napoli striker Victor Osimhen, who won the CAF Men’s Footballer of the Year award in December, will be hoping to guide Nigeria to glory against the hosts tonight.

Ivory Coast line-up

16:13 , Mike Jones

Ivory Coast XI: Y. Fofana; Ndicka, Diomande, Konan; S. Fofana: Aurier, Sangare, Kessie, Kouame; Boga, Krasso

Nigeria line-up

16:05 , Mike Jones

Nigeria XI: Nwabali: Aina, Ekong, Ajayi, Bassey, Zaidu, Onyeka, Iwobi, Lookman; Chukwueze, Osimhen

Ivory Coast vs Nigeria prediction

16:00 , Mike Jones

With the home advantage and following on from their win in the first match it is hard to look past the host nation, but Nigeria will be a tough opponent especially with the knowledge that defeat could see them facing an early exit.

Ivory Coast 2-1 Nigeria.

Early team news

15:55 , Mike Jones

Nigeria were hit with a number of high-profile injuries before the tournament, including losing Wilfred Ndidi and Victor Boniface. It remains to be seen whether Sebastien Haller will be fit enough to play after he missed the first match through injury.

How to watch Ivory Coast vs Nigeria

15:50 , Mike Jones

The match kicks off on Thursday 18 January at 5pm GMT and takes place at the Olympic Stadium of Ebimpe. It will be shown live on Sky Sports Football and Sky Sports Main Event with coverage starting at 4.45pm.

If you’re travelling abroad and want to watch major sporting events, you might need a VPN to unblock your streaming app. Our VPN round-up is here to help and includes deals on VPNs in the market. Viewers using a VPN need to make sure that they comply with any local regulations where they are, and also with the terms of their service provider.

Ivory Coast vs Nigeria

15:45 , Mike Jones

Good evening and welcome to The Independent’s coverage of tonight’s Africa Cup of Nations clash between Ivory Coast and Nigeria in Group A.

This one should be a battle of heavyweights, and former champions, as the two nations look to secure their places in the knockout stages of the tournament.

Following their victory over Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast are well placed at the top of the group and will ensure a place in the next round should they triumph over the Super Eagles this evening.

Nigeria, meanwhile, must win after they had to settle for a shock 1-1 draw with Equatorial Guinea in their opening match. Three points will send them above Ivory Coast and leave them in a strong position to qualify for the next round.

We’ll have all the latest updates, team news and action from the match so stick with us as we build up to kick off at 5pm.