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U-23 AFCON: Egypt wins ultimate title

Hosts Egypt capped a historic tournament by winning the 2019 Total U-23 Africa Cup of Nations, beating Cote d’Ivoire 2-1 after extra time at the Cairo International Stadium on Friday.

Egypt achieved their first title in the third edition of the tournament that also served as African Qualifiers for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.

Karim El Iraky scored for Egypt after 37 minutes, before Aboubakar Doumbia equalized a minute from time but skipper Ramadan Sobhy found the net for Egypt in the 116th minute.

The Olympic Pharaohs sailed to the title in style, having won their fifth game in as many matches.

Sobhy found his way past his marker from the left side, to send a calling cross that El Iraky responded to with a scorcher to give Egypt a lead they maintained till the halftime.

After the break, Cote d’Ivoire threw everything in attack, and had to wait to the last minute to grab the equalizer. Substitute Abubakar Doumbia who had barely been on the pitch for a minute received a cross to score past Mohamed Sobhy and send the game to extra time.

In the extra time, both teams had their chances, before Egypt’s talisman Sobhy scored for the hosts.

Substitute Ahmed Rayan weaved past his marker to send a shot which was blocked by keeper Elizeir Tape, and Sobhy was the fastest to the ball to score the winner.

Egypt joined the list of Gabon (2011) and Nigeria (2015) in the list of honor of the U-23 Africa Cup of Nations. Meanwhile Egypt, Cote d’Ivoire and the tournament’s third finisher South Africa have qualified for the Tokyo Olympics.

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