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Troost-Ekong’s penalty lifts Nigeria over Ivory Coast

 At the Alassane Ouattara Olympic Stadium in Ebimpe, Abidjan, on Thursday, William Troost-Ekong’s penalty was the only goal of the West African giants’ Derby as…

 At the Alassane Ouattara Olympic Stadium in Ebimpe, Abidjan, on Thursday, William Troost-Ekong’s penalty was the only goal of the West African giants’ Derby as the Eagles picked off the Elephants right in their background.

Ivory Coast became the first host nation to lose a group stage match in 17 matches, since Equatorial Guinea lost as joint-host in 2012.

The Super Eagles also claimed consecutive victories over the Ivoirians for the first time.

Nigeria and Osimhen continued their profligate finishing when he blazed wide from a threaded Samuel Chukwueze pass.

Nwabali was the next to be called to action and he picked up a tame shot before parrying Seko Fofana’s long-range strike away as the Ivorians ramped up the pressure.

Both sides huffed and puffed, failing to make the final pass as they went into the interval level.

Nigeria continued playing on the counter and were awarded a penalty by VAR for Diomande’s kick on Osimhen inside the box.

Captain Troost-Ekong blasted the spotkick down the middle to put Nigeria ahead on 54 minutes.

The hosts ramped up the pressure but Nwabali was on hand to take the ball off an Ivoirien’s foot before Fofana and Obite Ndicka wasted good openings.

Substitute Bright Osayi-Samuel could have added gloss to the win but went for glory while Sangare also shot wide at the other end as Jose Peseiro’s side closed out victory.

The win is Nigeria’s first in five matches while it also ended Ivory Coast’s seven-match unbeaten streak.

Nigeria moved up to second in Group A with four points, level with Equatorial Guinea but with inferior goals difference. They conclude their group stage against Guinea-Bissau on Monday.

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