• Press review: Renard Says Difficult Game Awaits Morocco against Ivory Coast

    Rabat – Morocco football team manager Hervé Renard has said that his team is going to face a difficult challenge when the Atlas Lions meet Ivory Coast in Abidjan next month.

    The two teams are set to clash on November 6 to decide which of the two will qualify to next summer World Cup 2018 in Russia.

    The game is going to mark the sixth and final round of Group C’s African qualifiers.

    “We ‘re going to play our final game against Ivory Coast, and this game is going to be difficult,” Renard told beIN sport on Saturday following a crucial 3-0 victory over Gabon.

    “We deafted Ivory Coast during the African cup of Nations. We’ll have to do the same again.”

    With the win over Gabon, Morocco is now leader of the group with 9 points chased by Ivory Coast with 8. Morocco will need a draw to qulaify for the World Cup while the host team will seek victory.

    The Moroccan squad, especially the team’s defense, will have a difficult time keeping their goal clean.

    Despite the difficult task ahead, Renard said the Moroccan team is “confident” it can do well against Ivory Coast. What is imortant, Ranard added, is “to well prepare” for the game.

    “I think that we’ve made a lot of progress. But we have to be very efficient during those 90 minutes to seek this qualification that a whole nation is waiting for,” he said.

    The last time the two teams met was during the African Cup of Nations in Gabon in January. Morocco got the better of their rivals thanks to a 1-0 victory.

    While the Moroccan squad grew to become a strong team among the rest of major African football nations, the Atlas Lions will have to avoid a similar scenario to 2001 and 2005 when a loss to Senegal and a draw with Tunisia in the last round of African qualifiers crushed their hopes of booking their ticket to the World Cup.


  • NT: Côte d'Ivoire and Morocco poised for make-or-break showdown


    Match of the weekend

    Morocco 3-0 Gabon

    The Moroccans capitalised on Côte d'Ivoire's Friday-night stumble in Mali in style, easing past Gabon 3-0 to move into top spot in Group C. Khalid Boutaib was the star of the show, hitting a perfect hat-trick – his first goal was a glancing header, his second a right-footed volley and his third an emphatic left-footed finish – to fire his country to victory.

    The Atlas Lions are now in pole position and know that a draw in their final game – a potentially explosive showdown away to the Elephants on 6 November – would be enough to take them through.

    The quote

    "We knew that today's match was only a semi-final. Now we can go to Abidjan with more confidence, without having to take too many risks and with our fate in our own hands, albeit mindful that it'll be a tough game. We beat Côte d'Ivoire at this year's Africa Cup of Nations, so we know we can do it again." – Morocco coach Herve Renard

  • Press review: Khalid Boutaib hat-trick shoots down Gabon dreams

    (Africanfotbal.com) A hat-trick from Khalid Boutaib ended Gabon’s dreams of reaching the 2018 World Cup in Russia after losing 3-0 to Morocco in a Group C qualifier at the Stade Mohammed V on Saturday night.

    The loss means Gabon, along with Mali who drew 0-0 with Cote d’Ivoire on Friday night, are unable to qualify for the showpiece next year.

    The win, however, for Morocco sees them up to nine points in Group C, one above second placed Cote d’Ivoire.

    Gabon are third in the group with five points and Mali are last with three points.

    In Casablanca on Saturday night, a superb individual performance from Khalid Boutaib saw him net a hat-trick as Morocco cruised to only their second win in the group.

    The match itself started a little slowly with neither side creating any significant goal scoring chances in the opening half hour.

    The deadlock was broken in the 38th minute when a clinical finish from Khalid Boutaib gave the home side the lead, 1-0.

    Ten minutes into the second half Morocco doubled their lead when Khalid Boutaib found his second goal with a neat finish, 2-0.

    The icing on the cake was Khalid Boutaib’s third goal in the 72nd minute which handed Morocco a comfortable 3-0 win.

    Morocco will now face Cote d’Ivoire in their final 2018 World Cup qualifier in November with the winner of that match heading to the showpiece in Russia.

    Gabon will take on Mali in a dead rubber, but pride will be on the line for both nations.

    Morocco (1) 3 (Khalid Boutaib 38’, 55’ + 72’)

    Gabon (0) 0


    Morocco: Munir, Amrabat (Harit 90’), Belhanda, Benatia (Banoun 81’), Boussoufa, Boutaib (Bouhaddouz 81’), Dirar, El Ahmadi, Hakimi, Saiss, Ziyech.

    Gabon: Bitseki, Aubameyang, Bouanga (Nzembi 85’), Ecuele, Lemina, Meye Me Ndong, Ndong, Nzambe, Appindangoye, Tandjigora, Wachter.

  • Press review: Boutaib hits a hat-trick as Morocco move to the top of Group C

    (BBC) Khalid Boutaib hit a hat-trick as Morocco beat Gabon 3-0 in Casablanca to leapfrog Ivory Coast at the top of Group C.

    Boutaib headed hosts Morocco ahead in the 38th minute with the Turkey-based forward adding a second in the 56th minute and he completed his hat-trick in the 72nd minute.

    Morocco now have a slender one-point lead over Ivory Coast and both countries will fight for the sole group ticket on the final day in Abidjan on 6 November.

    Gabon, who were buoyed by the return to the squad of their superstar Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, are now eliminated from the race to Russia.

    African WC Qualifying Group C Played Points

    Morocco 5 9

    Ivory Coast 5 8

    Gabon 5 5

    Mali 5 3

    In 1986, the Atlas Lions became the first African country to win a World Cup group as well as reach the second round of the tournament.

    The 1976 African Champions finished in the group stage in 1970, 1994 and 1998.

    On Friday night, Ivory Coast drew 0-0 way to Mali in Bamako which briefly put them top of the standings.

    Mali's Moussa Doumbia missed a first half sitter and struck the crossbar in the second half as the hosts came close to their first win of the campaign.

    The Ivorians, who lost several key players to injury on the eve of the game, moved to eight points from five matches.

    Mali are now definitely out of contention for a place at next year's finals.

    Only the group winners will qualify for Russia 2018.

  • WC2018 Qualifiers: Morocco beat Gabon with hattrick of Boutaib

    (TheAtlasLions.com) Morocco are back on top of Group C with 9 points!

    Full Time!

    See all goals: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uz9WT9WNqJc

    3 minutes of additional time!

    89' Amine Harit makes his debut and replaced Nourdin Amrabat

    80' Two subs in Morocco line up: Badr Banoun replaced Mehdi Benatia and Aziz Bouhaddouz replaced Khalid Boutaib

    Benatia booked

    Khalid Boutaib scores a hattrick, 3-0 for Morocco against Gabon!

    See goal: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tNOtS3s9Tbw

    70' Nabil Dirar booked!

    Again goal of Khalid Boutaib in the 55th minute! and 2-0 for Morocco against Gabon

    See Goal: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KMU5YgqN9kE

    second half underway!

    Half Time!

    Morocco take the lead 1-0 by header of Khalid Boutaib in the 37' minute

    See goal: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vmQSjECEoys

    Match is underway!

    Location: Complexe Sportif Mohammed V / Casablanca (MAR)

    Competition: WC 2018 Qualifiers

    Kick off: 19h00 GMT, 21h00 CET, 15h00 EDT

    Referee: GOMES Victor Miguel De Freitas (RSA)

    Morocco starting line up:

    Munir El Kajoui-Achraf Hakim-Mehdi Benatia (C)-Ghanim Saiss-Nabil Dirar-Karim El Ahmadi-Younes Belhanda-Mbark Boussoufa-Nourdin Amrabat-Hakim Ziyech-Khalid Boutaib.




    11 FAJR FAYçAL










    Coach: Herve Renard

    Live streaming video: http://arryadia.snrt.ma/

  • WC2018 Qualifiers: Ivory Coast's World Cup hopes in the balance after draw in Mali

    BAMAKO, Oct 6 (Reuters) - The Ivory Coast extended their lead at the top of Group C in their World Cup qualifying campaign on Friday, but the 0-0 draw away to Mali means they can now be overtaken by Morocco.

    Russian-based striker Moussa Doumbia missed a first half sitter and struck the crossbar in the second half as the hosts, already out of contention for a place at next year's finals, came close to their first win of the campaign.

    The Ivorians, who lost several key players to injury on the eve of the game, moved to eight points from five matches, two more than Morocco who play on Saturday at home to Gabon.

    Should the Moroccans win, they will go top by a point and set up a potentially dramatic conclusion to the group next month when they travel to the Ivory Coast for their last match.

    The Ivorians have been to the last three World Cup finals but turned in a listless showing on Friday.

  • WC2018 Qualifiers: Morocco out to demolish Gabon

    Morocco will be gunning for a victory at home as they welcome Gabon for their 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier on Saturday.

    Fresh from a 6-0 win and a 0-0 draw against the Eagles of Mali last month, the hosts will want to claim a convincing win.

    The Lions of Atlas are favourites to book a spot in Russia next year and winning their matches at home is seen as a step towards that mission.

    Coach Herve Renard's men sit at number two in the Group C with six points from one win and three draws, but will be motivated at home.

    Looking at the Panthers, Gabon occupy the third spot with five points with two draws, one loss and one win.

    Although they failed to bag a win at home in the first match last year, the 2017 CAF African Cup of Nations hosts will be under pressure to secure a win.

    A win for them will see them up to eight points and topple their hosts, but Morocco will have nine points if they win.

    The World Cup Qualifier will be staged on Saturday at the Stade Mohammed V at 21:00 (CET).


  • 2018 WCQ - AfricanFootball looks at the permutations for Group C

    AfricanFootball.com takes a closer look at who needs what to secure qualification for the 2018 World Cup ahead of this weekend’s round of matches. Today we focus on Group C: Ivory Coast, Morocco, Gabon and Mali.

    Where and when are the games?

    Friday 6 October

    Mali v Ivory Coast - Stade du 26 Mars, Bamako - 21h00 CAT

    Saturday 7 October

    Morocco v Gabon - Stade Mohamed V, Casablanca - 21h00 CAT

    Who needs what to qualify?

    This one of the more open groups in the qualifiers and none of the four teams have been mathematically eliminated. In fact, leaders Ivory Coast cannot guarantee a place in Russia 2018 even if they win in Mali on Friday and the other game on Saturday between Morocco and Gabon ends in a draw.

    That scenario would see the Elephants lead by three points with one round to go, and would be the closest any of the teams can get to qualification in this round of games.

    What’s likely to happen?

    Tough to say, but given that Mali held both Gabon and Morocco to goalless draws in their previous home matches, it wouldn’t be stretch to imagine the Eagles frustrating the Elephants in Bamako on Friday night.

    This would open the door for Herve Renard’s Morocco to overtake his former team at the top of the log with a win at home to Gabon. The Atlas Lions recorded a 6-0 thrashing of Mali in their last home game and will believe a victory over the Panthers is well within reach.

    Whatever happens this weekend, we know that qualification can only be decided in the final round of matches next month, most likely in the showdown between Ivory Coast and Morocco.

  • Press review: Achraf Hakimi, the First Moroccan Player in the History of Real Madrid

    By Realmadridnews.com 2-10-2017

    Achraf Hakimi made history yesterday with Real Madrid. He became the first Moroccan footballer to play with Los Blancos an official game in La Liga. Before, they played two Spanish footballers born in the African country: Heliodoro Castaño (1955-58) and José Luis Peinado, Pepegoles (1964-76).

    Danilo’s departure opened the possibility for Achraf Hakimi to participate in the squad. Dani Carvajal got injured after playing all the games in the start of the season and he needed to have some rest. Actually, he’s not even going with the Spanish national team. Nacho, the other player who could play as a right back, had to play on the left because Theo and Marcelo were injured. So the only option Zidane had was Achraf. And he played a great game.

    Achraf didn’t suffer and he defended his right side successfully. Although he’s usually very offensive, this time he tried to defend more. However, we could see a great dribbling in the 13th minute but he’s cross wasn’t perfect. He was the third player with more balls stolen, only after Sergio Ramos and Casemiro.

    “Achraf was so concentrated that we didn’t have the feeling that this was his first game. He did it great”, Zidane said in press conference after the game. “If Dani is not with us, Achraf is the second right back and he’s going to play”, the manager confessed.

    Achraf was very happy after the game: “This is a day I will never forget”, he said. “I’m going step by step and I’ll give the best minutes”, the player announced after the game.

    Achraf is a son of immigrants and he arrived to Getafe when he was very little. However, Achraf joined Real Madrid soon after and he’s been working with La Fábrica since he was very little. Now he has accomplished his dream to make the debut with Real Madrid but the path is very long.

  • Morocco vs Gabon: Short News

    NT: Jawad El Yamiq, Ismail El Haddad & Marouane Da Costa will miss the clash against Gabon due injuries.

    Badr Banoun called up along with Fouad Chafik who replaced Hamza Mendyl (injury)


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