Morocco round off qualifying campaign with a win

football17 October 2023 22:14| © Backpage TXT

Morocco finished their 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying campaign on a high after they beat Liberia 3-0 at the Adrar Stadium in Agadir on Tuesday night.

The Atlas Lions secured top spot in Group K, although it mattered little as they had already qualified for the tournament in Ivory Coast, with the draw for the group stages having taken place last week.

Walid Regragui's side had to wait until the final minute of the first-half to break the Lone Stars' resistance as Amine Harit scored his first senior goal before a penalty from Ayoub El Kaabi and Amine Adli's late strike wrapped up the three points.

The North Africans had suffered a 2-1 defeat to South Africa in Johannesburg on 17 June, while Liberia were also beaten 2-1 by Bafana Bafana in their previous qualifier.

The hosts had the first sniff at goal after just four minutes when Ayoub El Kaabi got on the end of Bilal El Khannouss' pass and directed the ball just wide of the left post from inside the box, but Yassine Bounou was called into action three minutes later to keep out a header from Albert Korvah.

Liberia threatened again on 12 minutes as Korvah pulled his shot narrowly past the left post after Nohan Kenneh had nodded the ball into his path from a corner, while El Khannouss just cleared the target from an angle on the right at the other end of the pitch four minutes later.

Morocco then took control of proceedings and Abde Ezzalzouli drew two outstanding saves out of Boison Wynney from back-to-back corners around the 37-minute mark before they eventually broke the deadlock on the stroke of halftime.

Achraf Hakimi found Harit inside the area and the Marseille midfielder picked out the bottom left corner of the net to open his account for the national team.

The Lone Stars almost hit back five minutes into the second half, but William Jebor was unable to beat Bounou with his header from Jamal Arago's cross.

However, the Atlas Lions were presented with a glorious chance to double their lead nine minutes later when Sampson Dweh brought down Yahya Attiat-Allah inside the area and El Kaabi lashed the resulting penalty straight down the middle after Wynney committed himself on the line.

El Khannouss nearly made it 3-0 with a strike from range that flashed just wide of the right post on 65 minutes, although it fell to Amine Adli to seal the win when he stepped off the bench to tuck home the ball from the Genk midfielder's pass in the final minute of the match.

Morocco (1) 3 (Harit 45+2', El Kaabi 59' PEN, Adli 89')

Liberia (0) 0

Morocco: Y. Bounou, A. Hakimi, N. Aguerd, R. Saiss (Y. Abdelhamid 65'), Y. Attiat-Allah, O. El Azzouzi, A. Harit (A. Adli 65'), A. Ounahi (Y. En-Nesyri 65'), B. El Khannouss, A. El Kaabi (T. Tissoudali 74'), A. Ezzalzouli (I. Saibari 74').

Liberia: B. Wynney, M. Pabai (E. Dennis 70'), S. Dweh, M. Sangare, J. Arago, O. Dorley, N. Kenneh, A. Korvah (M. Gibson 70'), D. Teah (M. Macauley 83'), M. Kamara (K. Sherman 70'), W. Jebor (S. Moses 88').