A passionate home crowd roared Morocco’s Atlas Lionesses into the second round of the TotalEnergies Women’s Africa Cup of Nations for the first time in the country’s history, as they secured qualification with a 3-1 win over Uganda at Rabat’s Moulay Abdellah Sports Complex.
The home fans were in full voice as their local heroes were ultimately too strong for a gallant Uganda.
The first half was very balanced between the two teams. Morocco opened the scoring in the 15th minute through a penalty converted by striker Rosella Ayyane, who had won and then converted the penalty which was awarded after the intervention of VAR.
Despite opening the scoring early in the game, Reynald Pedros’ players struggled to impose themselves on the game as the Crested Cranes grew in strength. It did not come as a surprise when in the 32nd minute the Ugandans managed to equalize through a Somaya Komuntale drive.
In the second half as soon as the players entered the pitch, the Atlas Lionesses tried to impose their game and became more decisive. Their efforts were rewarded, when they scored a second goal through Nesryne Elchad in the 68th minute.
Captain Ghizlane Chebbak was given the responsibility of converting a second penalty awarded to the Atlas Lionesses in the 84th minute, making no mistake to put the game beyond the reach of the Ugandans.
With their second victory in as many matches played, Morocco qualified for the second round of the TotalEnergies WAFCON on home soil. It was a historic qualification for the Lionesses of the Atlas, who will have to win against Senegal on the third day of Group A to top the group.
Uganda, for its part, has not as yet officially said goodbye to the competition. The Crested Cranes will have to win on the last day of the group stage against Burkina Faso, who are in the same situation, and hope to qualify as the best third place finisher.