Hosts Morocco progressed on Wednesday in Rabat to their first-ever semi-finals in Women’s Africa Cup of Nations history after overcoming an exciting Botswana side 2-1.
The victory also ensured that the Atlas Lionesses also secured the country’s maiden place at the Women’s World Cup.
They qualified for next year”s competition in Australia and New Zealand following the quarter-final victory in Rabat.
The win of the Maghrebians over the Mares was thoroughly deserved even though the crowd buoyed the home side with vociferous support at Prince Moulay Abdallah Stadium.
Playmaker Fatima Tagnaout was the toast of the fans as she set up both goals to ensure her side claimed the important win that put the side in the history books.
The hosts raced into the lead as they got the opening goal of the quarter-final encounter through FAR Rabat star Sanaa Mssoudy after three minutes.
Tagnaout cleverly placed a free-kick just behind the wall allowing Mssoudy to steal in from behind with a simple tap in to send the home supporters into ruptures.
The fans had barely settled in their seats following their jubilation when Botswana also responded via a free-kick.
Morocco’s lead lasted only three minutes as the Mares got the equalising goal in the sixth minute through Keitumetse Dithebe.
She hammered home the ball with goalkeeper Khadija Er-Rmichi failing to hold.
The Atlas Lionesses restored their advantage in the second half and eventually won the game with a goal from Yasmin Mrabet who was set up by Tagnaout.
The playmaker spotted Mrabet and floated a long ball which Mrabet headed but goalkeeper Maitumelo Boseja watched the ball as it squirmed past her for the winner.
The victory means Morocco are through to the last four where they will face the winner of Thursday’s quarter-final match between Cameroon and defending champions Nigeria.