Hosts Morocco kicked off the 2022 AWCON with a 1-0 win over Burkina Faso on Saturday night at the Prince Moulay Abdellah Stadium in Rabat, with captain Ghizlane Chebbak's goal separating the sides.
Chebbak's strike came in the 29th minute as her free-kick crept around the Burkina Faso wall, which barely moved, and under goalkeeper Mariam Ouattara, whose glove on the ball was not strong enough to keep it out.
Chebbak had missed an earlier chance to give Morocco the lead. In the 21st minute, she got in behind the Burkinabe defence, but her shot at goal was fairly tame and it was parried and then held at the second attempt by Ouattara.
In the 40th minute, Yasmin Katie Mrabet saw her header from a corner cleared off the line before Salma Amani fired narrowly over the target on the rebound.
Morocco went into the break 1-0 up, with Outtara's saves keeping the visitors in the game.
The pattern of play continued in the second half, as did the battle between Chebbak and Ouattara. The latter made a great save off the former's free-kick in the 65th minute.
Burkina Faso almost grabbed a shock equaliser in the 78th minute as Limata Nikiema was played in on goal, but a superb piece of goalkeeping from Khadija Er-Rmichi kept the scores level as she rushed out and made two blinding saves before holding onto the ball at last in the aftermath.
Morocco were the dominant side on the night, but will be disappointed that they did not score more goals. Nevertheless, they are off to a winning start in what looks set to be a competitive tournament.