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Egypt qualifies for the African Cup semi-final at the expense of Morocco

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Egypt has qualified for the semi-final of the Africa Cup at the expense of Morocco on Sunday evening. The Pharaohs forced an extension after a 0-1 deficit thanks to a goal by Mohamed Salah, in which Trézéguet made the winning goal: 2-1. Thus, the tournament comes to an end for Eredivisionists Zakaria Aboukhlal and Souffian El Karouani. Egypt will face Cameroon in the semifinals.

Sofyan Amrabat started in Morocco amid persistent transfer rumors as usual in the base. Tottenham Hotspur have been on track in recent days to hire the Fiorentina midfielder, but the deal appears to have stalled after Spurs have bought Rodrigo Bentancur from Juventus. Zakaria Aboukhlal had to do it again with a place on the reserve bench. The AZ attacker did not come in until the 104th minute.

The Moroccans got off to a flying start thanks to star player Achraf Hakimi. The emerging right back decorated a penalty in the fourth minute, when Ayman Ashraf knocked him down with a rather unnecessary sliding. Referee Moussa N’Diaye also needed a VAR intervention to arrive at a penalty, which was finished flawlessly by Sofiane Boufal: 0-1. Egypt was then the dominant party, but that did not create any real opportunities. Ashraf tried from a great distance and saw Yassine Bounou intervene comfortably.

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Egypt continued to hunt for the equalizer in the second half. Trézéguet shot wide from the turn and moments later the 1-1 followed. Morocco goalkeeper Bono turned a header from Mohamed Abdelmonem, but was unable to respond to Salah’s rebound. In the final phase of regular time, Morocco was the closest to a victory: Nayef Aguerd hit the crossbar via the fingertips of goalkeeper Gabaski. As a result, an extension had to be made.

A few minutes after the start of extra time, Egypt had to deal with a setback: Gabaski was injured, so that Mohamed Sobhi defended the goal. He is Egypt’s third goalkeeper on paper. With a view to the penalty shootout, that may have been a frightening scenario, but Egypt already managed to win the match in extra time. In minute one hundred, Salah pulled in from the right flank and sent a low cross to Trézéguet, who finished from close range. In the stoppage time of extra time, Egypt countered after Bono came forward with Morocco, but Salah was unable to take advantage of the situation.

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