Morocco made to be patient to secure opening AFCON win against Tanzania

Morocco claimed a 3-0 victory over Tanzania in their Africa Cup of Nations opener, thanks to goals from Romain Saiss, Azz-Eddine Ounahi, and Youssef En Nesyri, but the World Cup semi-finalists had to be patient.

Former Wolves defender Saiss struck in the first half but, despite their total dominance, Morocco had to wait until the unfancied Tanzanians were reduced to 10 men late in the second half before finishing them off. While Morocco could boast the likes of Paris St Germain defender Achraf Hakimi and Manchester United midfielder Sofyan Amrabat, Tanzania started with Tarryn Allarakhia of Wealdstone in attack.Thus, the gulf in class between the North Africans and the minnows who have never won a match at the AFCON was clear, but Morocco could not find a way through until the 30th minute.

Ibrahim Hamad’s foul on Hakim Ziyech gave the Chelsea winger, on loan at Galatasaray, the chance to get the first shot on target of the match. Ziyech’s fierce free-kick was beaten out by Tanzania goalkeeper Aishi Manula but Saiss was following up and buried the rebound.

Ziyech, becoming increasingly influential down the right, then swung in a cross which En Nesyri headed over before forcing a decent near-post save from Manula. As half-time approached, Abdessamad Ezzalzouli blazed over from a tight angle as Tanzania somehow made it to the break only trailing by one.

Tanzania were pushing their luck with some physical challenges and a predictable second yellow card ended Novatus Miroshi’s involvement 20 minutes from time. Morocco then doubled their lead when Ounahi played a slick one-two with substitute Amine Adli before slotting past Manula. Moments later Ounahi crossed for Sevilla striker En Nesyri to tuck in the third and ensure the Atlas Lions got off to a winning start.

(story credit: SABC Sport

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