Nigeria’s dream of a first African Nations Championship title was
dashed on Sunday night when they suffered a 4-0 drubbing in the hands of hosts Morocco in the final played in Casablanca, AOIFootball.com
The Super Eagles, who played most of the second half with 10 men, were outclassed by the Atlas Lions, who became the fourth different winners of the CHAN, joining DR Congo, Tunisia and Libya on the honours board.
Hosts Morocco thought they had got off to the perfect start on the 10th minute as Ayoub El Kaabi headed Ismail Haddad’s corner home, but it was cancelled as the ball had curled out of play before reaching the forward.
The hosts were having the better of the first half, but Nigeria did
have sight of goal when a smart turn from Eneji allowed him to lay the ball off to Reuben Gabriel. His shot was blocked, though.
Morocco managed to get the goal their dominance deserved just before half-time. Badr Banoun surged out of defence and found left-back Abdeljalil Jbira on the overlap. He pulled the ball back to Hadraf to fire home the opener from 10 yards out.
Nigeria then suffered another blow early in the second half as Eneji
was sent off for a second yellow after a foul on Mohamed Nahiri.
Morocco had chances to extend their lead further as Nigeria’s
goalkeeper Dele Ajiboye denied El Kaabi from a corner and the forward then put another header just wide.
However, Morocco’s dominance finally paid off just past the hour mark as they scored twice in three minutes to seal the victory. El Karti
grabbed the second as he headed home Jbira’s cross after El Kaabi had once again been denied by the woodwork.
Hadraf then scored his second of the match, powering home after
Ajiboye could only get fingertips to Haddad’s cross.
4-0 was the final score of the night as Morocco became 2018 CHAN champions.