Morocco moved back to the top of Group E in the qualifiers for the 2021 Total Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifiers with a 4-1 victory over Central Africa Republic in Casablanca on Saturday.
Hakim Ziyech was the toast of the home side, scoring twice and assisting once as the Atlas Lions moved to seven points from three matches, edging out Mauritania who drop to second. Achraf Hakimi and debutant Zakaria Aboukhlal scored the other two goals.
🏁 FULL TIME— FRMF (@FRMFOFFICIEL) November 13, 2020
A strong display from the #AtlasLions🦁 and a precious victory to snatch a total of 7 points, while having 3 games in hand👊#MORCAR 4️⃣-1️⃣#QCAN2021⚽ #MORCAR🇲🇦🇨🇫 #DimaMaghrib💚🇲🇦❤️ pic.twitter.com/gmVei3BC9w
Morocco were in crisp control from the first minute and their early dominance bore a goal after 10 minutes, Hakimi hitting the back of the net with a simple finish from inside the box after being played through by a super Ziyech through pass.
But CAR drew level in the 24th minute against the run of play when Mafouta shot into an empty net after racing on to a long ball before beating the keeper to have the goalmouth all to himself.
But the joy of an equalizer was short lived as Morocco got back into the lead on the half hour mark, Ziyech scoring from the penalty spot after Youssef el Arabi was brought down inside the box by Dyllan Ngallot.
The Atlas Lions were 3-1 up just three minutes later. A short training ground routine corner saw Hakimi tee up Ziyech whose low shot into the box evaded a forest of legs and into the bottom left corner.
In the second half, the Moroccans continued their dominance and they were 4-1 up in the 63rd minute when Aboukhlal who had just come on for his debut replacing Hakimi tapped into an empty net when he was picked out by a decent cross from Aymane Barkok.
The Moroccans dominated the final bits of play with Central Africa Republic struggling to create any chances.
South Africa 2-0 Sao Tome and Principe
Elsewhere at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban, South Africa beat Sao Tome and Principe 2-0 to cement their hold on second spot. Percy Tau and Bongani Zungu scored for the Bafana Bafana as they picked their second Group C victory.
In the opening half, none of the two sides mustered a shot on target and hosts South Africa only created three chances from a massive 71pc possession. Lebogang Manyama had an effort go over from a Themba Zwane cross from the right.
Sao Tome’s best opportunity in the opening half fell on Harramiz Soares whose shot from the left after being picked out by a deep cross hit the side netting.
The game livened up in the second half with Tau scoring from the penalty spot 10 minutes after the restart while Zungu headed home in the 89th minute from a Keegan Dolly corner.