Morocco is the new African Champion. The Moroccan national team of local players crushed Nigeria 4-0 in the final match of the African Nations Championship, which took place on Sunday night in Casablanca’s Mohammed V stadium.
Morocco made history in the Championship of African Nations (CHAN) tournament when they won the fifth edition. The Atlas Lions are the first nation to host and win the tournament reserved for players playing in their home countries. This is the first title of the Atlas Lions in the competition, succeeding Congo which won the Rwanda 2016 edition against Mali (3-0).
Moroccan players scored four goals following in their best performance in the CHAN so far.
Morocco’s midfielder Zakaria Hadraf, who also plays as a forward, scored the first goal seconds before the end of the first half of the match. In the 61-minute of the match, Walid El Karti netted a second goal to the relief of millions of Moroccan fans. Three minutes after El Karti’s goal, Hadraf scored the third goal for his team.
The rainfall and freezing weather did not prevent over 40,000 of Moroccan fans from heading to Casablanca’s stadium to provide much-needed moral support to their national team.
CHAN’s star Ayoub El Kaabi secured Morocco’s win with a superb goal scored in the 73 minute of the match. With this goal, El Kaabi has now scored 9 goals throughout the CHAN to be the first footballer to score this number of goals in the history of the tournament.
With this well-deserved win, Morocco finished the competition without losing any match. In six matches it played during the competition, Morocco scored 16 goals and conceded two goals.
This the first time a Moroccan national team wins an African competition since 1997 when Morocco’s under 20 team won the African Cup of the Nations.
Sudan beat Libya on penalties to earn third spot. The sides were locked at 1-1 after 90 minutes in Marrakech at the tournament.
In the shootout, Sudan converted all four of their penalties while Libyans Elmehdi Elhouni and Ablo were foiled by Sudan goalkeeper Akram El Hadi. It is a second bronze medal for Sudan at the CHAN finals after they were third when they hosted the tournament in 2011, while Libya were champions three years later.