Host Morocco will face defending champions Egypt in the 3rd edition of the Africa Cup Of Nations Under 23 Final set for this Saturday, July 8, at the Stade Moulay Abdellah in Rabat.
The Atlas Lions booked their spot in the final after a hard-fought 4-3 win over Mali in the last semi-final played on Tuesday night at the Prince Moulley Stadium following a 2-2 draw after 120 minutes.
Zakaria El Quahdi put the home team ahead when he scored just after 14 minutes.
As hosts, enjoying dominance and good possession, Mali were forced to change tactics and eventually equalise through Diambou in the 66th minute.
The match ended in a 1-1 draw after 90 minutes, forcing the referee to add 30 minutes.
Morocco regained the lead through Amine El Quazzani’s strike in the 108th minute, but resilient Mali levelled again 4 minutes from the final whistle through Issoufi Maiga and held on to the spot kicks.
Morocco maintained their composure and successfully converted all four of their penalties, while Mali faltered with misses from captain Boubacar Traore and Ahmed Diomande.
In the earlier semi-final, the Young Pharoes dispatched Guinea 1-0 thanks to a first-half strike from Mohamed Shehata Mahmoud connecting Ibrahim Adel’s pass.
Both Egypt and Morocco qualified for next year’s summer Olympic games in Paris, France, and will be joined by Mali, or Guinea, who will battle for the 3rd place play-off on Friday at the Grande Stade Ibn Batouta in Tangier City.
More than 46 presidents of African football federations are expected to attend Saturday’s final, which is expected to be a big occasion.
The attendance of the presidents of the federations attests to the Kingdom of Morocco’s dominant position in the African football scene, where it is considered a key factor in the growth of football on the continent.
The Kingdom of Morocco is excited about the possibility of maintaining its dedication to hosting top-notch sporting events and building on its track record of achievement.
In fact, it is eagerly mulling over the prospect of hosting the 2030 World Cup together with the 2025 African Cup of Nations in association with Spain and Portugal.