Emilio Nsue Lopez, the 34-year-old veteran winding down his career at third-tier Spanish club CF Intercity in Alicante, has emerged as the shining star of Côte d’Ivoire AFCON 2023, with his outshining performances.
Usually, a stalwart defender or elusive winger for the European clubs he has graced, Nsue has found a rejuvenated spirit in his preferred number 9 role for Equatorial Guinea.
Nsue is a veteran of African Cup of Nations and a permanent fixture in the Equatoguinean team since they co-hosted the competition in 2015.
The right back, who also plays as a midfielder, plays for Spanish third tier team, Intercity FC, in a career that has seen him appearing for such clubs as Mallorca, Real Sociedad and Castellón, Middlesbrough and Birmingham City.
Emilio Nsue Career
Nsue began his career at Mallorca, where he appeared in 153 competitive games and four La Liga seasons. He also spent time on loan at Real Sociedad and Castellón.
He made his senior international debut for Equatorial Guinea his father’s country in 2013, and two years later represented that nation at the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations.
In 2014, he joined English club Middlesbrough, and helped them gain promotion to the Premier League in 2016.
Nsue signed for Birmingham City in January 2017.
On 17 June 2022, Nsue became the first signing of Intercity for the 2022–23 season, signing a two-year contract.
AFCON Top Scorer
Currently, Nsue stands tall as the top scorer at this edition of the competition, having netted an impressive five goals so far.
His recent feat of securing a hat-trick in Equatorial Guinea’s 4-2 triumph over Guinea Bissau on Thursday, saw Nsue rewrite history, becoming the first player in 16 years since Soufiane Alloudi to net a hat-trick at the AFCON.
Emilio Nsue scored twice as Equatorial Guinea routed Cote’d Ivoire 4-0 to leave the host nation on the verge of elimination from the Africa Cup of Nations last night.
Now, with five goals, he leads the chase for the coveted golden boot, leaving behind a pack of hungry predators including Baghdad Bounedjah (Algeria), Bertrand Traoré (Burkina Faso), and Ghana’s own talismanic Mohammed Kudus.
Nsue as a Captain
As the captain of the Equatorial Guinea, Nsue has not only showcased leadership on the field but has also become the talk of the town with his electrifying runs and scoring prowess.
He scored on his debut for Equatorial Guinea in an unofficial friendly with Benin on 21 March 2013; he captained the team and played the first 45 minutes.
The veteran was again captain on his first competitive appearance, when he scored a hat-trick in a 4–3 win over Cape Verde in a 2014 World Cup qualifier, but FIFA later declared him ineligible for that match and for the return fixture, awarding both games to Cape Verde by a 3–0 scoreline.
Nsue scored the tournament’s opening goal in a 1–1 draw with the Republic of the Congo on 17 January at the Estadio de Bata.
AFCON Round of 16
As such, Equatorial Guinea, relishing their historic victory, now looks forward to a last-16 clash with a third-placed team from either Group C, D, or E, at the Alassane Ouattara Stadium next Sunday.
Ivory Coast’s miserable goal difference, now standing at minus three, need to be one of the best four third-placed teams – out of six – to qualify from the group stages.
The stunning defeat has not only put the hosts on the brink of elimination but also cast a shadow over the once high hopes for a successful AFCON campaign.