It was a bout between Lions and Eagles at the Samuel Ahidjo Stadium, Cameroon at the final of the African Nations Championship.
Morocco, playing to defend their title against Mali were held for over an hour by the West Africans before scoring the much deserved opening goal.
The Malians proved their mettle and showed why they came so far with good attacking football, and sometimes resolute defending. The last laugh, however went to the North Africans who have now won their second successive CHAN title.
Two headers headers by Abdelmouna Boutouil and skipper of the side, Ayoub El Kaabi made all the difference for the Atlas Lions.
With the victory, the North Africans became the first team from Africa to win a second successive title in the tournament played by home-based players only.
Four years ago in Casablanca, the Moroccans thrashed Nigeria’s Super Eagles 4-0 to emerge champions but met a stronger opposition in Mali on a night of glamour in Yaounde.
Mali stood toe-to-toe with their more illustrious opponents but could not muster a goal from their impressive spells in the game.
“First of all I will congratulate Mali and coach Diane Nouhoum for their run in the competition. Reacjing the final is a feat. For us, we came here with a changed team by 65% and a new staff. So it was about writing our own story and winning for ourselves,’ Morocco’s coach Houcine Ammouta said after their victory.
Mali’s coach, Nouhoum congratulated the Moroccans and said they are the best team on the continent.
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