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Morocco defeat Mali 2-0 to retain CHAN title

CHAN 2020 Final: Sunday February 7, 2021. FT Result: Morocco 2:0 Mali
Morocco became the first nation in history to retain the African Nations Championship (CHAN) title following a well deserved 2-0 win over Mali in the 6th edition of the tournament final at the Stade Ahamadou Ahidjo in Yaounde, Cameroon on Sunday.

Soufianne Bouftini put the Morroco ahead in the 69th minute before skipper Ayoub El Kaabi sealed victory with a close-range finish past Mali Goalie Djigui Diarra with both goals coming from corner kicks.

El Kaabi’s compatriot Soufiane Rahimi finished as the tournament’s top scorer with five goals, including a brace in the semi-final win over hosts Cameroon.

Morocco before the 2020 African Nations Championship (CHAN) final against Mali
Morocco before the 2020 African Nations Championship (CHAN) final against Mali

There was late drama as Samake saw red following a VAR review that took over five minutes for what was considered dangerous play on Morocco defender Abdelmounaim Boutouil.

Only 10,000 fans from Cameroon were available to watch Morocco’s triumphant night, but at the end of the three weeks tussle, it was the Atlas Lions of Morocco who were revelling in stopping another Malian sniff of the CHAN title.

Kenyan referee Peter Waweru was the man in charge of the 6th edition CHAN Final as Morocco lifted their second consecutive title.

Morocco Wins CHAN 2021, Become 1st Team to Win 2 Consecutive Titles
Morocco has scored 15 goals during the tournament, more than any other team.

Morocco’s journey to championship started from group stages with a a 1:0 defeat over Togo, followed by a goalless draw with Rwanda before humbling Uganda (5-2) to advance to the quarter-finals as group winners.

In the quarterfinal, the Atlas lions cruised past Zambia with a 3-1 victory before eliminating hosts Cameroon (4-0) in the semifinals.

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Mali, meanwhile, had a relatively less impressive journey. Despite finishing the group stage at the top of Group A, ahead of Cameroon, Burkina Faso, and Zimbabwe, the Eagles reached the final through two penalty shootouts.

In both the quarter-finals and the semi-finals, against Congo and Guinea respectively, Mali won 5-4 through penalties, after the games ended in 0-0 draws.

Morocco XI: Anas Zniti (GK), Omar Namsaoui, Soufiane Bouftini, Abdelmounaim Boutouil, Hamza El Moussaoui, Yahya Jabrane, Mohamed Bemammer, Abdelilah Hafidi, Soufiane Rahimi, Noah Wail Sadaoui, Ayoub El Kaabi (C)

Mali XI: Djigui Diarra (GK) (C), Siaka Bagayoko Chato, Bangaly Sanogo, Yacouba Doumbia, Issiaka Samaké, Moussa Kyabou, Sadio Kanouté, Demba Diallo, Makan Samabaly, Moussa Ballo, Moussa Koné Koffi

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DR Congo is the second nation to have won two CHAN titles (2009 and 2016) while Tunisia (2011) and Libya (2014) have one title each.

Recently reinstated Confederation or African Football president Ahmad was part of the presentation ceremony at the end of the match alongside former Cameroon players Samuel Eto’o, Patrick Mboma and Jacques Songo’o.

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