Host Morocco won the 4th edition of the Africa Cup of Nations under 23 after putting up a spirited battle from a goal down to see off defending champions Egypt 2-1 in extra time in a tantalising final played on Saturday, July 8th, at the Prince Moulay Abdallah stadium in Rabat city.
Mahmoud Sabre’s spectacular curling shot into the top corner gave Egypt the lead after just nine minutes of play for an early advantage, but he was sent off eight minutes later through VAR following a reckless challenge on the Young Atlas talisman Abdessamad Ezzalzouli.
Despite playing a man down, the Young Pharos continued pressing for a second goal, forcing their defence to be exposed, which allowed Yanis Begraoui to equalise for the home side in the 37th minute.
Both teams played cautiously in the 2nd stanza, with the score remaining the same until centre referee Peter Kamaku from Kenya blew the 90-minute whistle and proceeded for extra time of 30 minutes.
After the restart of the last 15 minutes of extra time, substitute Oussamna Targhalline converted Ezzalzouli’s free kick with a strong shot that went past the Egyptian keeper to send the home fans into a frenzy.
It was Morocco’s first continental silverware since they won the CHAN tournament in 2020.
CAF President Dr.Patrice Motsepe and Morocco President Faouzi Lekjaa presided over the medal presentation ceremony, marking the end of a successful tournament in the north African Country.
Morocco was staging the eight-nation AFCON U23 for the second time since 2011.
As a result, Morocco, Egypt, and Mali will represent Africa in next year’s Olympic Games in Paris, France.