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Last Updated: Wednesday, 11 February, 2004, 19:59 GMT
Morocco book final spot
By Farayi Mungazi
BBC Sport in Sousse

Youssef Hadji
Hadji scored Morocco's third

Mali 0-4 Morocco

Two goals from forward Youssef Mokhtari helped Morocco to the African Cup of Nations final at the expense of Mali.

Mokhtari opened the scoring with a superb free-kick from the edge of the penalty area before doubling the lead with a low drive after the break.

With 10 minutes remaining Youssef Hadji added a third when he converted Marouane Chamakh's brilliant centre.

And in stoppage time, substitute Nabil Baha rounded off the rout with a soaring effort from just inside the box.

It was very much a one-sided contest, as the Moroccans put on a show of astonishing will and control that left Mali a shadow of the team that impressed so often in the tournament.

Moroccan nerves were the first to settle down in front of a meagre crowd at Stade Olympique, and it was no surprise when they took the lead after 13 minutes with Mokhtari's splendid free-kick.

After Sammy Traore was adjudged to have fouled Marouane Chamakh, Mokhtari let fly from 25 yards out.

Youssef Mokhtari and his Moroccan teammates celebrate
Youssef Mokhtari (right) and his teammates celebrate

Although Mahamadou Sidibe produced a valiant dive, the shot flew past the Malian goalkeeper and into the goal.

Despite having a relatively poor start, Mali had their moments but the Moroccan defence, well-marshalled by Noureddine Naybet, gave little away.

The Malians started the second-half with a greater sense of direction and purpose but all hopes of a revival were swept out of sight by another wonder goal from Mokhtari after 57 minutes.

Having collected the ball on the edge of the box, he ignored the attentions of one defender, took a couple strides across the turf and unleashed a vicious left-foot shot which nestled in the bottom corner.

Most of the enthralled spectators would have settled for those two goals, but they were treated to two more from Hadji and Baha as Morocco delivered a chilling warning to Tunisia ahead of Saturday's decider in Tunis.

Morocco: 1-Khalid Fouhami; 2-Walid Regragui (10-Mourad Hdiouad 67), 3-Akram Roumani, 6-Noureddine Naybet, 4-Abdeslam Ouaddou; 8-Abdelkrim Kaissi, 15-Youssef Safri, 20-Youssef Hadji (9-Nabil Baha 86), 11-Mohamed Yaacoubi (21-Tarek Chihab 59); 17-Marouane Chammakh, 16-Youssef Mokhtari

Mali: 1-Mahamadou Sidibe; 3-Fousseiny Diawara (21-Mamary Traore 70), 4-Adama Coulibaly (8-Bassala Toure 46), 5-Brahim Thiam, 17-Sammy Traore; 6-Mahamadou Diarra, 10-Soumaila Coulibaly, 11-Djibril Sidibe (12-Seydou Keita 61), 14-David Coulibaly; 20-Dramane Traore, 19-Frederic Kanoute

Referee: Aboubacar Sharaf (Ivory Coast)

Match highlights
Mali 0-4 Morocco

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