Ivory Coast's triumph over DR Congo ignited jubilant scenes across the nation as they clinched a spot in the AFCON final with a hard-fought 1-0 victory.
The Ivory Coast midfield dominated the match and kept DR Congo at bay all match as they struggled to even create chances.
"Well, the performances aren't personal, I'd say they're collective, and in particular, as I pointed out earlier, after that humiliation against Equatorial Guinea here, we looked ourselves in the mirror, we said things to ourselves, we saw that we couldn't have done any worse, and today we're happy …not because we've qualified for the final, because it's here that we took 4 zeros, we came to play the semi-final, we talked to each other for two days, and so we had to show a different face here," said Kessie.
"My feelings. I'm disappointed, because the way the match went, we're disappointed too. Because we could have believed in the performance we put in, even if, I repeat, we came up against a fine Côte d'Ivoire team. But I don't need to tell you, you've already said it, and it's certain to be positive whatever happens, because the boys deserve to be positive. And that's the most important thing. Even tonight, we lost a soccer match. We lost the notion of doing everything. Why did we win it? The state of mind is extraordinary in this team. Of course, they're disappointed," expressed DRC's Coach Sébastien Serge Louis Desabre.
Sebastien Haller emerged as the hero, propelling the host nation into the final with a sublime volley from Max Gradel's precision cross. The electrifying moment, occurring in the 65th minute, sparked euphoric celebrations among fans filling the 60,000-capacity Alassane Ouattara Stadium.
Haller's decisive goal, marking his return to the starting lineup following an ankle injury, added to the Ivorian fervor, with supporters crediting divine intervention for the team's remarkable journey towards a potential third Africa Cup title.