An even matchup between South Africa and Morocco in Sunday’s Group B opener at the 2023 Africa U-17 Cup of Nations saw a late collapse from the Amajimbos that resulted in a 2-0 victory for Morocco. Abdelhamid Ait Boudlal converted from the penalty spot and Adam Hanin scored soon after for Morocco who found the net twice in the final twenty minutes. Morocco face the other winner from Sunday in Group B, Nigeria, while South Africa continue their search for points against Zambia.
Both teams needed time to become comfortable on their tournament debuts in Algeria. Neither goalkeeper was substantially tested in the first half with both teams failing to threaten on hopeful long range shots or set piece opportunities. South Africa goalkeeper Kyle Jensen had a couple of nervy moments but escaped without being punished after dropping a free kick service into the penalty area. The Amajimbos best first half chance came in the 33rd minute courtesy of an excellent dribbling run from Siyabonga Mabena but his lay off to Michael Dokunmu resulted in a swing and a miss for the forward.
It seemed like the match was heading for a scoreless draw but the Moroccans did well to capitalize on a couple of late gaffes from the South African defense. In the 72nd minute a cross from Abdel Hamid Maali went off the arm of South Africa captain and defender Benjamin Wallis, resulting in a penalty kick that Ait Boudlal fired in as Jensen dove the wrong way. Ten minutes later Jensen collided with one of his defenders while attempting to claim a cross and the ball fell to Hanin for an easy finish to clinch three points for the Moroccans.
Highlights from the match are below.