Morocco’s under-23 national team claimed victory in the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations final, beating 10-man Egypt 2-1 in a thrilling match on Saturday.
Egypt took an early lead with midfielder Mahmoud Saber scoring a brilliant goal from outside the area after just ten minutes.
However, the young Pharaohs’ hopes of victory were dashed when Saber was shown a red card in the 18th minute for a dangerous attack on Moroccan forward Abde Ezzalzouli.
Morocco’s Yanis Begraoui equalized in the 37th minute after receiving a wide pass from right-back Bilal El Khannouss inside the area, finishing the full-time with a 1-1 draw between the two sides.
In extra time, midfielder Oussama Targhalline scored the winning goal for Morocco from a free kick outside the area, securing the title for the hosts.
Both teams showed great effort throughout the match.
Egypt’s wingers Ibrahim Adel and Osama Faisal scored more scoring chances during the second half, but their efforts were stopped by the Moroccan defense.
Meanwhile, Morocco tried to make use of their home advantage and the extra player, but Egypt’s goalkeeper Hamza Alaa put in an excellent performance to keep the game level.
Egypt started the tournament with a goalless draw against Niger but then defeated Mali and Gabon to advance to the semi-finals, where they secured victory against Guinea.
Morocco, on the other hand, won all their group-stage matches against Guinea, Ghana, and Congo before defeating Mali in the semi-final.
Egypt, Morocco, and Mali, who defeated Guinea in the third-place decider, have already secured their spots in the 2024 Paris Olympics as the top three teams from the tournament.
This victory marks Morocco’s first-ever Africa Cup of Nations title in this age category, with Gabon winning in 2011, Nigeria in 2015, and Egypt in 2019.