Sports

Atlas Lions pip Tanzania at AFCON opener

The Atlas Lions of Morocco had an impressive opening at the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations, AFCON after defeating Tanzania 3-0 on Wednesday in Ivory Coast.

Moroccans are the highest-ranked African nation heading into the tournament, rising to 13 in the FIFA table after reaching the World Cup 2022 semi-finals.

But Morocco have not been crowned African champions since 1976, and have only once reached the final, where they lost 2-1 to Tunisia in 2004.

However, the likes of Hakim Ziyech, Achraf Hakimi, Sofyan Amrabat and captain Romain Saiss seems to give the country hope of winning 2023 AFCON.

It was the skipper who secured the breakthough in a first half which started slowly but soon saw Morocco turn the screw.

Saiss was in the right place at the right time to slot home inside the area after the Tanzania goalkeeper fumbled Ziyech’s speculative free kick. Ziyech then almost found himself on the scoresheet but Haji Mnoga was a match for his fierce effort towards the bottom corner.

Youssef En-Nesyri was twice guilty of missing chances as Tanzania held on for a respectful one-goal deficit at the break, and was on hand again soon after the restart to mistime a shot to let his opponents off the hook.

A quickfire double then put the game to bed. Ounahi first exchanging a neat one-two on the edge of the area before firing home, and then setting up En-Nesyri to finally get his goal and tournament up and running.

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