Ivory Coast went from zero to hero after Sebastien Haller scored a dramatic late goal to defeat Nigeria 2-1 in Sunday's Africa Cup of Nations final, winning the title for the third time.

Nigeria appeared to repeat their 1-0 triumph over the Ivorians at the Ebimpe Olympic Stadium during the group stage when captain William Troost-Ekong, who had scored a penalty to decide the earlier match, rose to head in the opener late in the first half.

However, Franck Kessie equalized just after the hour mark. Haller converted Simon Adingra's cross in the 81st minute to ignite wild celebrations among the sea of orange in the Abidjan stadium.

Ivory Coast's victory adds to their previous titles from 1992 and 2015, and it also allows them to join Nigeria in having won three Cup of Nations titles in total.

Only Egypt, Cameroon, and Ghana have won the title more frequently, with the Super Eagles missing the chance to match their Ghanaian rivals' four victories.

PHOTO | COURTESY Sebastien Haller

The Nigerians, led by reigning African Player of the Year Osimhen, appeared to be the most fearsome squad in the league throughout the last month.

But Ivory Coast's sense of destiny proved too strong, as they became the first host country to win the AFCON since 2006.

Didier Drogba captured the Elephants' side that lost on penalties to Egypt in the final in Cairo 18 years ago. while this time he was among the spectators to witness a stunning victory for his country.