Makeni, SIERRA LEONE – At the Ivorian Stade Laurent Pokou in San Pedro, the 1976 Africa Cup of Nations – (AFCON) winners and Africa’s reigning pace setters in the World Cup, Morocco announced themselves as title contenders for the continent’s 34th prestigious title by beating their Group-F opponent Tanzania 3-0.
Throughout the match, the Moroccans stayed very tactical and composed to dominate the Tanzanians who gave them a huge run for their money despite losing the match 3-0 thanks to goals from Romain Saiss, Azzedine Ounahi and Youssef En-Nesyri in the 30th, 77th and 80th minutes.
With an overall 48.3% score of ball possession, the Tanzanians won the most duels accounting for 57.1% with 42.7% duel success rate but failed to record a shot on target and their ten man team equally miscarried to stop the determined Moroccans whose latest saw them become the joint hot favourite team along with the defending champions Senegal with the biggest score so far in the on-going AFCON in Cote d’Ivoire.
Like Senegal in Group-C, the Moroccans now lead their group with three points and three goals, adding up their name to the list of the seven teams including Cape Verde, Mali and hosts Cote d’Ivoire that have won their opening games in the race for the 34th AFCON title.
A total of 27 goals have been scored by 18 out of the 24 participating teams in the on-going continental in the 12 opening group games played with ten teams including the Super Eagles of Nigeria, record AFCON winners and 2021 runners up, Egypt, Cameroon and the 2019 AFCON champions Algeria have secured a point each while Seven clubs including Ghana, Gambia and Tunisia have tasted defeats and defending champions Senegal, Morocco, Cape Verde, host Cote d’Ivoire and three others have started off their campaign on winnings ways.
With 24 more matches left to complete the group stage and for the 16 teams that will advance to the round of 16 to emerge, the tournament remains very competitive among the participating teams with no rooms left open for perceived big names to easily walk past the perceived underdogs. ARW/18/1/2024