Senegal staged a dramatic late comeback to beat Morocco 2-1 and win the Under-17 Africa Cup of Nations title at the Nelson Mandela stadium in Algiers on Friday.
Morocco had taken an early lead after scoring in the 14th minute with a header from Abdelhamid Ait Boudlal.
But Senegal was awarded a penalty with just ten minutes before the whistle and Serigne Diouf scored.
Then just three minutes later substitute Mamadou Savane put them 2-1 up.
Morocco could not respond and Senegal became Africa’s U17 champions for the first time.
“We’re very proud, we had fixed the target from the beginning of the competition, even when we were in Senegal, and after achieving this title with pride, we are very happy,“ Mamadou Aliou Diallo, one of Senegal’s defenders, said.
Senegal dominated Group A, defeating Congo (1-0), Algeria (3-0) and Somalia (3-0). The Lion Cubs of Teranga knocked-out South Africa (5-0) in the quarterfinals before facing Burkina Faso (1-1) in the semi-finals, where a penalty shootout (5-4) decided the match.
“The match wasn’t hard, we faced a strong opponent, their name is Senegal, any squad like this you need to take care,” Haythem Lmousse, one of Morocco’s player, said.
“We have achieved a dream that we had been dreaming of, which is to qualify to the World Cup,” he added.
Morocco also had a similar path to the Final. They finished top of their group ahead of Nigeria who they beat 1-0, South Africa (2-0) and Zambia (2-1). In the quarter-finals, they eliminated hosts Algeria (3-0). In the semis, they were held by Mali 0-0 and needed the penalties to advance (6-5).