Morocco snatched a late 1-0 Africa Cup of Nations win after substitute Itamunua Keimuine undid Namibia’s stout defensive efforts with a calamitous 89th-minute own goal.
Head coach Herve Renard is chasing a third triumph in the continental showpiece, having prevailed with the Ivory Coast in 2015 – three years after guiding an unfancied Zambia to glory.
But a Morocco side boasting plenty of technical ability and attacking talent struggled to break down a Namibia outfit ranked 113th in the world.
Dire Dawa City striker Keimuine was sent on to chase a famous win for his side but, having fouled Sofiane Boufal on the right flank, he inexplicably powered a header from the same player’s free-kick into the turf and in.
Earlier in the contest, Namibia goalkeeper Lloyd Kazapua gathered a low drive from Ajax’s Hakim Ziyech at the second attempt as Morocco failed to turn control of possession into regular clear chances before half-time.
Nordin Amrabat skipped away from Riaan Hanamub down the Namibia left early the second period, with Ryan Nyambe making a vital clearance as Youssef En-Nesyri sought to convert.
Boufal came on for central midfielder Mehdi Bourabia as Renard looked to force the issue.
Kazapua readjusted well to save with his boot from Ziyech – the playmaker’s shot at the end of a 72nd-minute run having taken what looked like being a decisive deflection.
Boufal curled wide 12 minutes from time but Kazapua, having come through an apparent bout of cramp, was left with no chance when Keimuine erred horribly.
By Dom Farrell