Five months after the feat of the Atlas Lions in the World Cup Qatar 2022, the Cubs have in turn made the pride of Morocco with an exceptional course in this CAN U17, despite the defeat in the final against Senegal.
After securing their ticket to the U17 World Cup and surpassing Mali in the semi-finals, our Moroccan cadets were well on their way to winning the final of the U17 Africa Cup of Nations in Algeria 2023, under the watchful eyes of national coach Regragui, who traveled to Algiers to support the future Atlas Lions.
However, the proteges of Saïd Chiba had a strong start to the game thanks to their tactical discipline, which allowed them to manage the first half well despite the physical capabilities of their opponents.
Thanks to their good management of set-pieces, the Lion Cubs of the Atlas came close to surprising the Senegalese within the first ten minutes, as captain Abdelhamid Ait Boudlal almost scored with a header that narrowly missed the goal from a free-kick by Hamony. Four minutes later, Ait Boudlal succeeded in his attempt this time. After a brilliantly taken corner by Abdelhamid Maâli, the captain of the Lion Cubs leapt higher than the Senegalese defense to score a unstoppable header, thus announcing the opening goal (1-0, 14th minute).
In the second half, just when a confirming goal was expected, the match took a turn in the 76th minute with a penalty awarded by Gabonese referee Patrice Meambe after a VAR review for a handball on captain Ait Boudlal. The penalty was confidently taken by Fallou Diouf, who equalized for his team (1-1, 80th minute). Clearly unfocused after conceding that goal, our cadets will give up a second goal, similar to Ait Boudlal’s, with a header from substitute Mamadou Savané from a corner in the 83rd minute.
Despite the defeat, this generation of Morocco U17 leaves an indelible mark in the memory of Moroccan football by reaching the final for the first time in the history of this category. It is certain that the teammates of Taha Benrhozil will make us dream in the World Cup, just as the senior team did in Qatar.
Here is the complete match in video :