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Host Morocco stage late comeback to defeat Guinea in AFCON U 23 opener

This is the second time the tournament is being held in Morocco, which also staged the 2011 edition.

Host Morocco staged a late comeback to win 2-1 against Guinea in the opening match of the 2023 AFCON Under 23 group A match played on Saturday night at the Prince Mouley Abdellah stadium in Rabat.

Debutants Guinea took an early lead in the 10th minute via midfielder Seydoumba Cisse, who fired home a thunderous shot past Moroccan goalkeeper Alaa Bellaarouch.

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The hosts kept pressing, and it bore fruit in the 67th minute, when their skipper Abdessamad Ezzalzouli was pulled down inside the area and they were awarded a penalty, which was converted by the captain, restoring parity.

The Moroccan side persisted in attacking, while Guinea tried to defend their position as they tried to earn a point but conceded a 5th-minute extra-time penalty, which was awarded after VAR review and was calmly converted by Ezzalzouli, sending home fans wild while Guinea left the pitch with their heads down.

The tournament continues  on Sunday with a second group A fixture pitting Congo against Ghana at 6 p.m. Kenyan time at the Prince Mouley Abdellah, before the action shifting to Tangier city for two group B opening fixtures, with defending champions Egypt taking on Niger from 8 p.m. before Mali and Gabon lock horns starting at 11 p.m. Kenyan time.

The quadrennial tournament, which features eight teams, will see the best three teams book tickets to represent the continent in next year’s Olympic games in Paris, France, while the fourth-placed team will have to navigate through a continental playoff against an Asian opponent.

This is the second time the tournament is being held in Morocco, which also staged the 2011 edition.

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