Defending champions Egypt and Niger recorded identical wins by a solitary goal to keep their hopes of qualifying for the 2023 AFCON U23 semi-finals alive.
The Pharoes saw off Mali 1-0 in the 2nd round of the group B encounter played on Wednesday night at the Grande Stade ibn Batouta in Tangier City, Morocco.
Mohammed Adel’s 10th-minute goal was enough to see Egypt secure a vital win, which puts them on the brink of last-four qualification.
In the second match of the day, Niger scored their first international goal as they punished wasteful Gabon with a solitary goal at the Grande Stade Ibn Batouta.
Gabon enjoyed much possession but was kept at bay by the Nigerien defense, forcing the first stanza to end in a stalemate.
After missing clear goal-scoring opportunities, Gabon were punished when the referee awarded Niger a penalty after Urie Michel Mboula fouled Abdoul Salam Boulhassane, which was perfectly connected by Aboud Moumouni.
Egypt and Niger jointly lead group B on 4 points and will meet Gabon and Mali in their last fixtures, in which a draw result will see them through to the semi-finals.
The best three teams in the tournament will automatically qualify for next year’s Olympic games in Paris, France, while the 4th-placed team will have to play an Asian opponent for a chance to play in the summer olympic games.
Morocco is hosting the 3rd edition of the AFCON U23 after organizing it successfully in 2011.