By Afeseh Apong
▪️ Morocco recorded a one nil win over Ghana in a group C opener
▪️Sofiane Boufal scored the lone goal in the last quarter of the game.
Angers midfielder Sofiane Boufal’s 82nd minute goal was all Morocco needed to defeat the black stars of Ghana.
Morocco and Ghana are considered by many pundits as the favorites to sail through from group C. The two sides have five AFCON titles amongst them, four for the black stars and one for the desert foxes.
Monday’s game at the Ahmadou Ahidjo Stadium was lacking in scoring chances in the first half, though the Moroccans were more lively going forward, and made sure that the Ayew brothers, Andre and Jordan, were isolated for most of the game.
Alexander Kwabena’s foul on Zakaria Aboukhlal, earned him and Adam Masina the two bookings of the first segment.
Ghana’s best chance came at the 43 minute through Genk midfielder Joseph Paintsil, who raced forward in and individual move, but his shot went way off target.
Ghana looked to have rediscovered their playing style in the second segment, with Joseph Paintsil and Jordan Ayew creating the best of chances just before an hour mark.
Andre Ayew’s foul on. Soufiane Boufal earned the Ghanaian captain a yellow card, shortly before Sevilla goalkeeper, Yassine Bounou made a stunning save to deny Kamal Deen Sulemana.
The moment of magic came at the 82 minutes, when Soufiane Boufal rifled a right footed effort from out of the box, to beat goalkeeper Joseph Luke Wollacot, to put the Atlas lions in front.
A series of substitutions from both sides, saw Vahid Halilhodzic bringing on Tarik Tissoudali, Soufiane Rahimi, and Sofyan Amrabat, for Imran Louza, Zakaria Aboukhlal and Azz_Eddine Ounahi.
For the black stars, Milovan Rajevac desperately brought on Abdul Fatawu Issahaku, Daniel Kofi, Richmond Yiadom, and Abdul Mumin Suleman, with Kamal Sulemana, Thomas Partey, Jordan Ayew and Joseph Paintsil all ceding their places.
Goalkeeper Joseph Luke Wollacot made a fine stop in the last minutes of the game to prevent further casualty for the black stars, as Morocco clinch vital points to go top of group C.
Morocco 1#0 Ghana
⚽ Soufiane Boufal.
“It was a very tough game. We were expecting a tough game because Morocco is one of the tough teams in Africa, and it was our opening game. We didn’t use our chances today and I think Morocco was a bit lucky towards the end, I want to congratulate Morocco for the victory and congratulate my boys for the fighting spirit. We still have two matches to play, so we have to concentrate and see how we can reach the next stage,” Said Milovan Rajevac of Ghana.
“It was a very good victory for us. I told the players that I was proud of them. It was a difficult game against a very good Ghanaian team. We studied our opponents very well and analysed their playing style and prepared our game plan. I knew from the beginning that we were not going to have many chances,” Vahid Halilhodzic, Coach of the Atlas lions of Morocco.
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