28.8 C
Accra
Thursday, May 26, 2022
No menu items!

Morocco sneak past Namibia

Must Read

Parliament’s Privileges Committee refuse live media coverage of Absentee Hearings over privacy issues

Story by: Franklin ASARE-DONKOH The Absentee Members of Parliament who have been accused of breaching the 15-day absence rule are...

Beware of Lassa Fever- Ghana Health Service warns

The Ghana Health Service (GHS) has directed all healthcare facilities across the country to be on the alert for...

Nero X opens up on two-year break from music, bounces back with “Shame”

Ghanaian Highlife musician Nero X says his two-year break from music was a result of issues with his former...

Namibian Itamunua Keimuine headed an 89th-minute Hakim Ziyech free-kick into his own net to gift Morocco a 1-0 victory on Sunday in the opening Africa Cup of Nations Group D match.

It was cruel blow for the minnows from southern Africa, who lived up to their Brave Warriors nickname by taming the much-vaunted Atlas Lions.

Relief was etched on the face of Morocco coach Herve Renard as the final whistle blew after an unconvincing start by one of the competition favourites.

Renard is the only coach to win the Cup of Nations with two countries, guiding outsiders Zambia and previous underachievers the Ivory Coast to success between 2012 and 2015.

“We battled because of the good organisation of Namibia, the heat, and the fact that we were playing our first match,” said Frenchman Renard.

“The most important thing was to take three points and I hope Namibia will pose problems for the Ivory Coast and South Africa.”

Namibia coach Ricardo Mannetti said: “I had to comfort my players, especially the player who scored the own goal.

“I am so proud of my boys for the way they executed our tactics. Sometimes the game plan may not be nice to watch, but I was up against very experienced coach, a very experienced team.”

As the match kicked off in 36 degree celsius (97 fahrenheit) heat at the Al Salam Stadium, the bookmakers, the Fifa rankings and Cup of Nations history favoured Morocco.

Morocco are 10/1 joint fifth favourites with bookmakers to win the title, 43 years after the only time they lifted a trophy that symbolises African national team supremacy.

The Atlas Lions lie 66 places above the Brave Warriors in the Fifa world rankings and they triumphed 5-1 on the previous occasion they met, 11 years ago.

However, while Morocco enjoyed 60 percent possession during the opening 45 minutes in the sweltering Egyptian capital, they rarely troubled Namibia goalkeeper Lloyd Kazapua.

It was a defender, right-back Nabil Dirar, who came closest to ending the stalemate with a fiercely struck 11th-minute shot from long range that flew just over the crossbar.

This was one of six goal attempts by the north Africans during the first half, but only two were on target.

Mannetti had warned his Group D opponents before the tournament that “even small dogs bite” and his side were a calm, well-organised outfit in the first half.

The second half was a replica of the first with Morocco pressing continuously and Namibia defending with discipline and intelligence.

Renard introduced Sofiane Boufal, who played for Celta Vigo in La Liga last season on loan from Southampton, and Karim el Ahmadi in an effort to break the deadlock.

The French coach played his final card on 78 minutes, introducing Khalid Boutaib, a familiar figure to Egyptians as he plays for famed Cairo club Zamalek.

Then, with the first goalless draw of the 2019 tournament looming, Keimuine watched in horror as his attempted clearance flew into the net.

Ivory Coast face South Africa on Monday at the same stadium in a Group D showdown of former Cup of Nations winners.

Morocco (0) 1 (Keimuine 89′)

Namibia (0) 0

TEAMS:

Morocco: Bounou, Hakimi, Benatia, Saiss, Dirar, Ait Benasser (El Ahmadi ,69′) Boussoufa, Bourabia (Boufal 58′), Ziyech, En-Nessyri (Boutaib 78′), Amrabat.

Namibia: Kazapua, Hoaseb, Nyambe, Hoareb, Hanamub, Katjijere, Starke (Papama 64′), Shitembi, Hotto (Stephanus 87′), Shalulile, Limbondi (Keimuine 80′).

Courtesy: SuperSports

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Latest News

Parliament’s Privileges Committee refuse live media coverage of Absentee Hearings over privacy issues

Story by: Franklin ASARE-DONKOH The Absentee Members of Parliament who have been accused of breaching the 15-day absence rule are...

Beware of Lassa Fever- Ghana Health Service warns

The Ghana Health Service (GHS) has directed all healthcare facilities across the country to be on the alert for suspected cases of Lassa fever. It...

Nero X opens up on two-year break from music, bounces back with “Shame”

Ghanaian Highlife musician Nero X says his two-year break from music was a result of issues with his former management as well as other...

Men in viral image with deceased Albert Donkor are not officers – Ghana Police debunks

By Issac Asare The Police Administration is urging the public to disregard a viral photo, showing 27-year-old, Albert Donkor, whose death sparked protests in Nkoranza, eating...

EC to sanction Political Parties who flout regulations, as 15 new applications are received

The Electoral Commission (EC) says it will not hesitate to sanction political parties, which fail to meet regulatory requirements, including being operational in two-thirds...

More Articles Like This