Morocco came from a goal down to beat defending champions, Egypt 2-1 at the Moulay Abdellah Stadium in Rabat to win their maiden TotalEnergies U-23 Africa Cup of Nations title.
Egypt silenced the Moulay Abdellah Stadium when they look the lead in the 9th minute, Mahmoud Saber unleashed a brilliant curler into the top corner.
Few minutes later, Mahmoud Saber’s night was cut short. The Pyramids midfielder was shown a straight red card for a reckless challenge on Abdessamad Ezzalzouli.
Morocco took advantage of the red card and leveled the score in the 37th minute. Yanis Begraoui beat the Egypt defense to tap home a sweet crossing from Bilal El Khannouss.
Despite being a man down, Egypt managed to hold their ground for the remaining minutes of regular time as the game went into extra-time.
In the final minute of the first extra-time, Morocco turned the game around. Substitute Oussamna Targhalline struck a low shoot pass the goalkeeper after he was set up by Ezzalzouli from a free-kick, 2-1.
Egypt pushed for the equalizer in the remaining minutes of the game but Morocco defended gallantly to win 2-1 and secure their maiden U-23 AFCON trophy.
Both Morocco and Egypt have earned their spots in next year’s Olympic Games to take place in Paris. The other automatic qualification slot was secured by Mali, who defeated Guinea 4-3 on penalty shootouts after a scoreless draw in the third place match on Friday.
Guinea can stil secure a place as the fourth African side at the Olympic Games in Paris but they have to win a playoff against a yet-to-be-decided Asian opponent.