Sebastien Haller emerged as the matchwinner for Ivory Coast in Wednesday's Africa Cup semi-final against DR Congo, but the former striker of FC Utrecht and Ajax appeared seemingly cool in front of Canal+'s camera after the game.
Sébastien Haller's pivotal goal for Ivory Coast in the recent match sent waves of jubilation through Stade Olympique Alassane Ouattara in Abidjan, marking a significant moment in the host nation's journey through the tournament.
His skillful volley from Max Gradel's cross over an hour into the game secured a 1-0 victory against their opponents, propelling Ivory Coast into a much-anticipated final against Nigeria. Nigeria's path to the final was secured through a victory over South Africa in the semi-finals, setting the stage for an epic showdown.
Despite the widespread celebration among his teammates and the coaching staff, Haller maintained a level of composure reflective of his professional demeanor. The Borussia Dortmund forward, known for his scoring prowess in the Eredivisie, emphasized the team's collective achievement over his individual goal. "Our goal was to reach the final, and we've achieved that," he stated, acknowledging the team's resilience in overcoming earlier challenges in the tournament. Haller's focus on teamwork over personal glory underscored the unity and determination within the squad.
Franck Kessié, Haller's teammate, echoed this sentiment with a blend of enthusiasm and forward-looking optimism. "What we showed today, we must bring to the final as well," declared Kessié, highlighting the importance of carrying their momentum into the final match. His reflections on the team's narrow escape against Senegal in the round of 16 underscored the unpredictability and beauty of football, where belief can turn the tides of fortune.
The journey to the final was not without its trials, as Kessié reminisced about the team's early struggles in the tournament, including a loss to Equatorial Guinea. Yet, the team's resurgence from the group stage to the brink of championship glory is a testament to their growth and tenacity.
Ivory Coast's coach, Emerse Fae, encapsulated the national sentiment, describing the team's progress to the final as a dream realized. "We are so happy and moved," Fae expressed, acknowledging the dramatic turnaround from their initial loss to reaching the final on home soil. The prospect of winning the Africa Cup for the third time has electrified the nation, with anticipation building for the Sunday night final at 9:00 PM.
As Ivory Coast prepares to face Nigeria, the final promises to be more than just a match; it's a culmination of hard-fought battles, a testament to the spirit of the teams, and a moment of pride for the host nation. With the entire country behind them, the Elephants aim to etch their names into the annals of football history by securing their third Africa Cup title.