The two nations played an entertaining 90 minutes of football, with hosts Morocco earning a 2-1 win over South Africa in Rabat on Thursday night.
South Africa’s Bafana Bafana took an early lead through 20-year-old striker Lyle Foster, but the Atlas Lions would need to bounce back to ensure the three points stay with them in Morocco.
Against the run of play, as Morocco dominated possession and the game, Foster led South Africa 1-0 before the break.
Ronwen’s heroism fails to save South Africa
Despite taking the lead, South Africa had goalkeeper Ronwen Williams to thank after Supersport United’s pair of sure hands made some exceptional saves to keep them ahead at the break.
Williams denied Morocco two excellent saves in the space of two minutes in the first half and repeated the feat moments before half-time when he produced another outstanding save to prevent right-back Achraf Hakimi, point-blank.
The 30-year-old was one of the few players who could be proud of his performance in the first game in Rabat.
En-Nesyri makes amends for Morocco
After a rather poor first half, Sevilla striker Youssef En-Nesyri finally atoned for his failures by equalizing for Morocco six minutes into the second half. It was no less than the Lions deserved after a convincing performance on the night.
As they pressed in search of the winner, a combination of good goalkeeping from Ronwen and a lack of an edge in the final third kept the scoreline at 1-1 heading into the final quarter of the game. .
But with three minutes left, super-sub Ayoub El Kaabi found the goods as he deftly fired the winner from a tight angle to complete the comeback and seal the victory.
What the result means for both teams
With tonight’s victory, Morocco take the lead of the group with three points and will face Liberia next Monday.
South Africa find themselves at the bottom of the group and will have to wait until September when they face Liberia to make amends.