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Last Updated: Tuesday, 7 February 2006, 19:03 GMT
Ivory Coast 1-0 Nigeria
Farayi Mungazi
BBC Sport, Alexandria

Didier Drogba shadowed by Nigeria defender Joseph Enakahire
Drogba has led Ivory Coast to their first final since 1992

The Ivory Coast secured their place in Friday's final of the African Cup of Nations after a 1-0 victory over Nigeria in Alexandria on Tuesday.

In a less-than-magical semi-final at the Harras El-Hedod stadium, Didier Drogba's 47th-minute goal exposed the Super Eagles' revival as nothing more than a false dawn.

Drogba pounced when Nigeria's centre-backs lost concentration at precisely the same moment that Romaric Ndri played a delightful long ball for him to chase before placing it between the legs of onrushing goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama.

The opening half was anything but pretty,yielding no more than a couple of moments of note.

Drogba failed to make the most of a seventh-minute free-kick from the edge of the box while Bonaventure Kalou should have done better with a header on the stroke of half-time.

Allowing the Ivorians to dominate possession in the opening half, Nigeria struggled to put together any meaningful moves but came alive after falling behind.

It was no surprise that this coincided with the introduction of Jay-Jay Okocha, replacing teenager John Mikel Obi who had struggled to impose himself on the match.

But despite the old maestro's best efforts, the Ivorians conspired to ruin his international swansong.

The Super Eagles must therefore wait two more years for another crack at a trophy they had pinned their hopes on, after their traumatic failure to qualify for the World Cup.

In contrast, Ivory Coast will face Egypt in Friday's final.

Egypt beat Senegal 2-1 in the second semi-final at the Cairo International Stadium.

  • Nigeria coach Austin Eguavoen:
    "We did not play well, this was our worst game at this tournament and we were clearly outplayed in all departments by our opponents.

    "This probably had to do with fatigue but our ball movement was slow.

    "However, the goal that finally beat us was scored from an offside position. Drogba was at least seven metres offside before he scored but the referee gave the goal."

  • Ivory Coast coach Henri Michel:
    "I'm very satisfied with the performance of my young team which only took shape about two years ago.

    "Our tragets were to qualify for the World Cup as well as the Nations Cup and we have achieved both of them.

    "And at this tournament, our objective was to advance from one round to the next and it appears it is working well for us."

    Interview: Ivory Coast defender Kolo Toure



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