Moulay Abdellah Stadium, Rabat-Morocco.
It was well after midnight as the final match of the U23 Africa Cup of Nations in Rabat involving defending champions, Egypt and hosts, Morocco stretched into extra time after a 1-1 deadlock at regulation time.
But Morocco laughed last with a 2-1 victory as the skies of Rabat were illuminated with splendid fireworks.
Great thanks to Substitute player, Oussamna Targhalline who connected a free kick from Ezzalzouli, almost on the dot of half time in the extra time.
Morocco have won their first U23 title and will be at Paris 2024 Olympics as continental champions.
What a match! It was the Egyptians that drew the first blood early in the match as Mahmoud Saber unleashed a brilliant curler into the top corner, giving his team an advantage after just nine minutes of play.
But the scorer did not last long in the match as he was given a red card following a reckless tackle on Moroccan player, Abdessamad Ezzalzouli.
The defending champions had to endure a one-man shortage throughout the duration of the match.
Despite being reduced to ten men, Egypt managed to hold their ground for the remaining minutes of regular time. However, their defence faltered in the 37th minute, allowing Yanis Begraoui to score the equalizer for the host nation.
Efforts from Egypt to secure a late equalizer proved fruitless, as Morocco held on to claim victory and secure their first U-23 AFCON trophy.
Both Morocco and Egypt have earned their spots in next year’s Olympic Games, set to take place in Paris, alongside Mali, who secured their qualification after defeating Guinea in the third-place playoff game on Saturday.
Guinea can still secure a place as the fourth African side at the Olympic Games in Paris but they have to win a playoff against a yet-to-be-decided Asian opponent