Hosts Morocco got their 2022 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations campaign off to a winning start with a hard-fought 1-0 win over a gallant Burkina Faso at the Prince Moulay Abdellah Sports Complex.
Captain Ghizlane Chebbak’s free-kick just before the half-hour was enough to earn the North Africans their first win in the competition for 24 years.
The Atlas Lionesses were made to sweat for their win in the tournament opener in Group A, but ultimately got the job done, with captain Ghizlane Chebbak’s goal in the 29th minute enough to give the hosts a narrow win.
Playing in front of a passionate and partisan home crowd, Morocco were comfortably the better team on the night and were full value for their win.
For all their dominance though, coach Reynald Pedros’ side struggled to put away the Stallions, spurning good second half chances that fell to Rosella Ayyane and Imane Saoud.
The Moroccans, however, found goalkeeper Mariam Ouattara in fine form in repelling many of their attacks.
Matchwinner Chebbak was elected “Woman of the Match” and was quick to thank the Moroccan fans for coming out in numbers and for providing fervent support.
She called on them to be “just as present in the next meetings to achieve the goal of qualification for the World Cup”.
A semifinal spot and attaining automatic qualification for the FIFA World Cup would be a fantastic achievement for the hosts in their first staging of the WAFCON.
They showed last night, though, that they will be uncomfortable opponents in this tournament for any team, with the fanatical crowd behind them.
Chebbak promised that as the tournament progresses “the performance of the Lionesses will be better and that the whole group intends to make the Moroccan people happy.