• ClubWC: Real Madrid Beats UAE’s Al Jazira in FIFA Club World Cup Semi-Final

    By Morocco World News

    Rabat – The legendary Spanish team Real Madrid defeated Emirati team Al Jazira on Wednesday in the semi-final game of FIFA Club World Cup in Abu Dhabi.

    It was Al Jazira who opened the scoring with a beautiful goal by its Brazilian striker Romario Ricardo de Silva in the 41-minute mark. Real Madrid, however, could not accept its easy defeat.

    Real Madrid’s superstar netted the first goal for his team at the 53rd minute of the game, making the game more interesting. Both sides delivered great performances, with Al Jazira’s Moroccan star Mbark Boussoufa showing great midfielding skills.

    Another Moroccan star took part in today’s game, but this one was playing for the opposing team. The 19-year-old Achraf Hakimi delivered a good performance with Real Madrid.

    One goal was not enough for Real Madrid. Gareth Bale, the team’s winger, scored the winning goal few minutes before the end of the game.

    In a pre-match conference, both Real Madrid and Al Jazira expressed their happiness over playing against each other. They also explained how defensive the game would be.

    “Being here with Al Jazira is probably the biggest thing I have done – the semi-finals of a FIFA Club World Cup with a team from the UAE, it is almost something you can’t imagine.”

    For Real Madrid’s coach, Zinedine Zidane, “for us, we know that there is no match that is easy. We have a semi-final against an opponent that everyone says is going to be easy. If we think so, we will be wrong.”

  • World Cup 2018: Didier Drogba Sents Message of Support to Atlas Lions

    By Morocco World News

    Rabat – During the ceremony of the 4th Mauritanian Football Awards, that took place on December 9 in Nouakchott, the Moroccan born journalist Lino Bacco recorded a video featuring the African icon of Football Didier Drogba sending a message of support to the Atlas Lions.

    The Ivorian football player Drogba who also attended the ceremony, organised by the Mauritanian federation (FFRIM), sent a message of congratulations to the Moroccan people for its qualification to the World Cup 2018.

    “Congratulations, represent us in the best way possible,” said Drogba.

    The Ivorian congratulated then the national team for its qualification to the Russian World Cup and sent his best wishes to the Lions.

    After a nearly 20-year absence, the Atlas Lions are heading back to the 2018 World Cup taking place in Russia next summer.

    The Moroccan team was placed in Group B along with its neighbor, Spain, as well as Portugal and Iran.

  • NT: Over ‘Security Concerns’ Belgian Football Team Refuses to Play Friendly Against Morocco

    (Morocco World News) Rabat – It appeared that Morocco’s Royal Football Federation’s (FRMF) ambition to make the Belgian national football team a sparring partner for the Atlas Lions will not pan out. Youssef Hijoub, a Moroccan FIFA agent, has said that the Belgian team declined FRMF’s invitation due to security concerns.

    The Moroccan national football squad is set to play a set of friendlies in preparation for the upcoming 2018 World Cup matches. On December 5, Moroccan news outlets reported that the Moroccan federation was seeking to arrange a friendly game between the Moroccan and the Belgian team, which is set to be played in March.

    Speaking in a TV program featured by French news channel France24, Hijoub said that the Belgian authorities refused friendlies against countries of North Africa, including Morocco, Tunisia, and Algeria in order to avoid all security threats.

    The Moroccan team was placed in Group B along with two European countries, including Portugal and Spain. The team will also face Iran. In order to evaluate the team’s weaknesses and strengths, the federation is planning multiple friendlies with European teams as the team will confront two European champions.

    The two teams met previously at King Baudouin Stadium in Brussels on March 26, 2008. The game finished with 4-1 in favor of the Moroccan team. Some Moroccan fans invaded the stadium before the end of the match, which was suspended for 10 minutes before the police were able to achieve order.

    Hijoub told France24 that Portugal will play two friendlies against Algeria and Tunisia before their World Cup clash against the Moroccan team, which is scheduled to take place on June 20.

    The Moroccan team will also play against Iran on June 15 and against Spain on June 25.

  • Eredivisie: Oussama Assaidi's brace helps FC Twente to victory

    (Footbal-Oranje.com) Oussama Assaidi netted twice as FC Twente claimed a much-needed 2-1 victory over NAC Breda.

    Three minutes into the second half, Assaidi fired Twente ahead with a shot from distance which Nigel Bertrams should have saved but failed hopelessly.

    NAC equalised just after the hour mark with Peet Bijen diverting Thierry Ambrose’s shot into his own net. However, two minutes later, Assaidi restored Twente’s lead with a great strike into the top corner after being given too much time to take a shot.

    The win lifts Twente up to 15th in the table and above NAC who slide into the bottom three.

  • Transfers: Labyad hints at January transfer to top Dutch club

    (Football-Oranje.com) After an excellent start to the season, Utrecht midfielder Zakaria Labyad is hoping for a move to one of the top three Dutch clubs in January.

    The 24-year-old had varied success with PSV, Sporting Lisbon and Vitesse before joining Utrecht in January. This season, Labyad has been in top-form, netting ten goals and providing seven assists.

    The Moroccan spoke with NUsport and hinted at a January transfer to either Ajax, PSV Eindhoven or Feyenoord.

    He said, “I absolutely want to go abroad again, I certainly want that. A nice club in a nice competition … But first I want to make a step in the Netherlands, to a top club.

    “I can not give much away, but something might happen in the winter break, that’s what it’s all about. FC Utrecht gave me the chance, and I want to make the next step without fighting.

    “When I came to Utrecht, I clearly indicated that I see it as an intermediate station, to the top of the Netherlands, as the trainer also knows.”

    Labyad left PSV on difficult terms, but doesn’t rule out a return, “Maybe PSV … Why not? I grew up there.”

  • Moroccans Abroad: Hakimi only sixth African player to score for Real Madrid

    (BBC Sport) Morocco international Achraf Hakimi hailed an unforgettable first goal for Real Madrid as he became the first Moroccan and sixth African to score for the European giants.

    Defender Achraf, 19, is enjoying a breakthrough season with Real Madrid and marked his fourth league appearance with a goal in the 5-0 thrashing of Sevilla on Saturday at the Bernabeu.

    "A match that I will never forget. My first goal with Real Madrid and a great victory for the team. Very happy," he said on Twitter.

    He becomes only the sixth African to join an illustrious list of Real Madrid scorers, alongside Emmanuel Adebayor (Togo), Javier Balboa (Equatorial Guinea), Mahamadou Diarra (Mali), Michael Essien (Ghana) and Geremi (Cameroon.)

    Cameroon's Samuel Eto'o and Cape Verde's Valmiro Lopes Rocha both failed to score for the 12-time European champions in an official match.

    Back in October, Achraf made his debut against Espanyol, becoming the first Moroccan to play for Real Madrid and the youngest player in La Liga this season - at 18 years 10 months 27 days.

    He also started for Zinedine Zidane's side in this season's home and away Champions League match against Tottenham Hotspur.

    Born in Madrid and eligible for Spain, Achraf represented Morocco at youth levels before Atlas Lions manager Herve Renard handed him a senior debut in a 4-0 friendly win against Canada in October 2016.

    Achraf made four appearances and scored once in the 6-0 annihilation of Mali as Morocco sealed 2018 World Cup qualification.


    (Goal.com) The Morocco international got off the mark in Saturday’s La Liga encounter to set a record for the Santiago Bernabeu outfit

    Achraf Hakimi became the first Moroccan to score for Real Madrid in La Liga after he netted in their 5-0 rout of Sevilla on Saturday.

    With the defensive quartet of Sergio Ramos, Daniel Carvajal, Raphael Varane and Casemiro ruled out of the clash due to suspension and injuries, the defender took the stage to make history at the Santiago Bernabeu.

    The 19-year-old who made his debut for Zinedine Zidane’s side against Espanyol on October 1, found the back of the net in his fourth league appearance this campaign to seal an emphatic triumph for Los Blancos.


  • La Liga: Achraf Hakimi scores his first Madrid goal!

    A day to remember for the young Moroccan Achraf Hakimi as he grabbed his first Madrid goal, but just as important was an early challenge to prevent Muriel a one-on-one at 1-0 with the game still in the balance


  • CWC: Pachuca edges Casablanca in extra time at Club World Cup

    (AP) Victor Guzman scored in the second half of extra time to give Mexican club Pachuca a 1-0 win over 10-man Wydad Casablanca of Morocco in the Club World Cup on Saturday.

    The midfielder finally broke the deadlock at Zayed Sports City Stadium in the 112th minute.

    Casablanca’s Brahim Nakach was sent off in the 69th minute.

    Pachuca faces Brazil’s Gremio in the semifinals on Tuesday.

    Later Saturday, Japan’s Urawa Reds plays host club Al Jazira to decide which team will meet Real Madrid in the last four on Wednesday.

  • NT: Hervé Renard and FRMF to Discuss World Cup Lineup

    (Morocco World News) Rabat – The coach of Morocco’s national football team, Herve Renard, is set to meet with Fouzi Lekjaa, the president of the Royal Moroccan Football Federation and the National Selection Committee, next week in order to discuss its lineup for the next phase of the 2018 World Cup.

    The Moroccan team will to travel in March to a European country which has not yet been determined. According to Moroccan daily newspaper Al Ahdath Al Maghribia, the Atlas Lions will visit one of the following countries: France, Turkey, England, Italy, Netherlands, or Turkey.

    The newspaper added that Morocco will play two friendlies against an Asian and a European team ahead of the 2018 World Cup’s second round.

    The friendlies will be followed by a training camp, scheduled to take place at the sports center of Maamoura. The Atlas Lions will then travel to Switzerland for a final training camp before heading to Saint Petersburg, Russia for their first game against Iran, which is scheduled to take place on June 15.

    The choice of Switzerland for the final training session is due to the fact that the country’s climate resembles that of Russia, added the newspaper.

    In an interview with French sports outlet L’Équipe, Renard said that his team needs to defeat their future World Cup opponents – Iran, Spain, and Portugal – in order to develop.

    “If we want to grow, we have to beat the best one day. If we are not able to do so, we will stay at the same level,” said Renard. He said that it is “up to us to make sure to pass this round. Let us be lucid, but ambitious.”

    The Frenchman added that he is not content with simply qualifying for this phase. “If the idea is to be satisfied with being there, it does not make sense.”

    The team’s manager has confessed that the Group B is not an easy one. After the final draw, the coach told the press that his team is going to play against monsters.

    “These are two countries that are not far from Morocco. The championship of Spain is something that people cannot miss in Morocco,” said Renard. “It is an honor for Morocco to play against the Spanish team, which is very strong, and Portugal, the European champion.”

    After the final draw, which took place in Moscow on December 1, Morocco was placed in Group B along with Iran, Spain, and Portugal. Many Moroccan and international football figures named the group B “ the deadly group” in the 2018 World Cup.


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