The tight Group A clash was settled via a second-half penalty converted by Ghizlane Chebbak at the Prince Moulay Abdellah Stadium in Rabat.
The victory ensured that the host nation secured the top spot in the group with maximum nine points after the three matches of the group phase.
Despite Morocco’s victory their opponents Senegal also advance to the quarter-fnials as they finished second in the group with six points.
Their progress in the knocko-out phase of the competition was confirmed by the result of the other match in the group that saw Burkina Faso drawing 2-2 with Uganda in Casablanca.
The results means both Burkina Faso and Uganda are eliminated from the tournament as they finished bottom of the group with one point apiece.
Indeed it was clear the two outstanding teams in the group were Morocco and Senegal following their explosive showing in their opening two matches in the group.
The West Africans were however undone by Covid-19 outbreak that ravaged their squad ahead of Friday’s match, ruling out key players including goalkeeper Tening Sène and striker Nguenar Ndiaye which left them weakened.
But the Senegalese did not meekly surrender as they put up an impressive fight which limited Morocco to few chances with their defenders standing resolute.
The home side had chances particularly from slippery winger Fatima Tagnaout’s crosses from the left but the towering Senegal defenders stood tall to foil her threats.
The pressure continued on the Senegalese after the break and they managed to block two shots from Yasmin Katie Mrabet and Rosella Alyane in the 49th minute.
The defence finally cracked six minutes later when captain Chebbak’s effort was stopped by the hand of defender Salimata Ndiaye in the box.
Following a VAR check, Chebbak picked herself up to beat replacement goalkeeper Ndeye Diaw for the opener in the 55th minute and her third goal of the tournament.
Senegal brought on giant attacker Hapsatou Diallo soon after to bolster their attack and she provided some anxious moments for the home side.
The 17-year-old had the best chance to restore parity late in the game but goalkeeper Khadija Er-Rmichi found her effort easy to contain.
Morocco will now play the best third-placed teams from either group B or C in the quarter-final while second place Senegal will face the winner of Group B.
Winners of the quarter-final matches will secure qualification to the 2023 Fifa Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.
Two losers of the quarter-finals will have another chance to secure qualification as they will be engaged in inter-continental playoffs
Leave a Reply