Sebastien Haller was the hero with the only goal of the game as hosts Ivory Coast beat the Democratic Republic of Congo 1-0 to win through to the final of the Africa Cup of Nations on Wednesday.
Starting for the first time at the tournament following injury, Borussia Dortmund striker Haller connected with a Max-Alain Gradel cross in the 65th minute at the Ebimpe Olympic Stadium, his shot looping over the goalkeeper and in.
That was enough to settle a tense but open semi-final showdown, and the Ivorians will now face Nigeria at the same venue on Sunday to decide who takes the title.
The two-time champions are the first host country to reach the final of the Cup of Nations since Egypt in 2006, and the turnaround is absolutely remarkable for a team that was on the brink of elimination in the group stage.
In contrast, it was an agonising defeat for DR Congo, who had been dreaming of a first appearance in an AFCON final since they were champions as Zaire in 1974.
Ivory Coast's run at the tournament had been described on the eve of this game as "miraculous" by their own interim coach Emerse Fae, the man who replaced the sacked Jean-Louis Gasset following embarrassing results in the group stage.
The Elephants scraped through to the last 16 as the last of the four best third-placed teams, then ousted reigning champions Senegal on penalties.
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