African Football

Morocco Atlas Lions wind up World Cup Preps with win over Estonia

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Morocco rounded off their 2018 FIFA World Cup preparations with a comfortable 3-1 win over Estonia on Saturday evening.

They are one of three North African sides to have qualified for the World Cup this year and they are hoping to progress through a difficult group.

The Moroccans finished their pre-World Cup campaign with victory in Estonia, having already beaten Slovakia and drawing with Ukraine.

Morocco dominated the game and proved they are comfortable in possession but continue to lack a cutting edge in front of goal, despite scoring three.

They flew out of the blocks at the A. Le Coq Arena and within 11 minutes had taken the lead through Galatasary’s Younes Belhanda.

The forward latched onto a cross and hit the ball into the roof of the net, leaving the goalkeeper no chance.

Morocco continued to dominate the game and should have scored a hatful but were unable to find the net.

Morocco, whose side mostly play in top European leagues, will have to work on their finishing if they are to upset Spain or Portugal at the World Cup, where they will surely be given significantly less sights of goal.

The Atlas Lions  went 2-0 up on 38 minutes after star man Hakim Ziyech converted a penalty. The No 10 plays for Ajax and has been likened to his predecessor, Christian Eriksen.

It was Amine Harit of Schalke who had been brought down in the box, just when he had opened up to fire up into a open goal.

Estonia’s goalkeeper, Aksalu, had elected to leave his post moments before and chased the ball out wide. However he was unable to prevent it being played into Harit.

Midway through the second-half, Morocco added a third, despite a host of changes to their lineup.

Malaga’s Youssef En-Nesyri scored with relative ease after a cross dragged the goalkeeper out of position leaving the forward to find an empty net.

Estonia pulled one back just four minutes later against the run of play. Ats Purje’s shot bobbled through past Morocco’s goalkeeper Mohamedi, who will feel his defence should have done better.

Morocco will begin their World Cup against Iran on June 15, but the following two games will pit them against group favourites, Spain and Portugal.

They will be confident going into the tournament and have proved they have strength in defence. But only a significant upset would see them progress.

 

 

About Collins Okinyo

Appointed by CAF President Dr.Ahmad as CAF Media Expert. An expert on African football with over 13 years experience ,always with an ear to the ground with indepth knowledge of the game. I have worked for top publications including 7 years at www.supersport.com until i founded www.soka25east.com to quench the thirst of football lovers across the continent. I have trained young upcoming journalists who are now a voice in African football.I have covered World Cup,AFCON,CHAN,Champions League,Confederations Cup,Cecafa,Cosafa,Wafu and many other football tournaments across the World. Founder Football Africa Arena(FAA),Founder www.afrisportdigital.com

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