Despite a spirited Madagascan comeback, Morocco managed to hold their nerve and claim a spot in the semi-finals with a two-goal cushion.
The last group match for both of these teams was an everything-or-nothing match. A win here would see one of them join Nigeria, Senegal and Egypt in the next round, and the other going home.
Despite having all the makings of a tight match, it started off very one-sided. The score was opened very quickly by Iazal, who pounced on a loose ball to grab the lead for Morocco. Not long after, Elkhdym stepped up to double the advantage. Madagascar were looking shaky at the back and would have to come up with something soon if they wanted to keep this tie alive.
But an unstoppable overhead from El Hamidy made it three and when Nassim finished off a great piece of teamwork, the score sat a 4-0, and the Madagascans looked overwhelmed and beaten already.
But there was still time for a comeback, and as the second period began they were playing a different game than they had been in the first. They conceded another early on, but then two quick-fire goals from Angeluc – one being a sublime bicycle kick – saw the deficit cut back to three.
The score was 5-2 and suddenly the 2015 champions didn’t seem so far behind. Another goal for each team, saw the difference stay at just three, and Madagascar were keeping pace with their north African rivals. In the dying seconds of the period, Marcel struck to bring Madagascar within two goals of Morocco.
With just a 12-minute period left, this match was turning into a much closer affair than it first appeared, and the team that lead were on the backfoot for much of the time, but still managed to defiantly hang on to their two-goal advantage until the very end.
The fourth and final spot in the semi-finals went to Morocco, who celebrated wildly, as the Madagascans sunk to the sand in disappointment.
The semi-final matches will be played tomorrow (12th) and Thursday (13th).