Morocco defeated Egypt 2-1 in extra time at home in Rabat on Saturday, July 8, to claim the U23 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) trophy.
Since the football competition’s inception in 2011, the North Africans are just the fourth nation to win the trophy. Morocco lost 2-1 to Gabon in Marrakech to finish second in the inaugural competition.
Mahmoud Sabre Abdelmohsen Hassan’s goal 10 minutes into the game gave Egypt the first advantage, giving them a one-point lead. When Hassan received a card just eight minutes after scoring his goal, the defending champions were quickly down to 10 men.
Despite being down a man, Egypt performed well to maintain their lead. However, the host team tied the score in the 37th minute when Yanis Begraoui scored. The game entered extra time because the score remained tied until the end of regulation time.
Oussama Targhalline, a Moroccan midfielder, made the difference by scoring the game-winning goal from a free kick, giving the hosts the trophy.
Egypt would certainly regret the consequences of the red card. Prior to the championship game, they had not let up a goal all tournament. However, Morocco played their cards well and withdrew from the competition without suffering a single defeat.
The top three finishers secured their spots in Paris 2024 in the quadrennial football championship, which also served as an Olympic qualifier. By winning the final, Egypt and Morocco guaranteed their spots at the Olympics.
— #TotalEnergiesAFCONU23 🏆 (@CAF_Online) July 8, 2023
Mali won the bronze medal by defeating Guinea 4-3 in a penalty shootout, becoming the third team to secure their spot at the Olympics.