Once again, Hakim Ziyech proved to be Morocco’s magic kid as he scored and provided an assist as Morocco beat the Central Africa Republic 2-0 in Douala, Cameroon to move closer to qualifying for the 2021 Total Africa Cup of Nations.
Ziyech struck with his magic left foot seven minuets before halftime, his freekick from the right curling into the far post. Nayef Aguard’s attempt to give it a touch took the keeper off his balance and the ball easily swerved into the net.
It was Morocco’s first effort on target with CAR having had the other chances at goal in the opening half. In the 10th minute, Foxi Kethevoama had a chance for the hosts, with his shot from a freekick flying straight into the keeper’s arms.
They had another golden opportunity when Kethevoama broke into the box, but took too many touches, the keeper palming the ball off his feet while Donald Benamma’s attempt at the loose ball was blocked.
In the second half, the home side stepped up in attack as they sought to get back on level terms and push for a winner. On the hour mark, Louis Mafouta had a chance with a freekick but he lifted his effort over.
Five minutes later, Manasse Enza-Yamissi advanced from his left back position to win the ball in a favourable position, but his low shot flew inches across the face of goal.
They had another opportunity when Ngam Ngam Saint Cyr took on a shot from distance, but the effort flew just wide off target.
On the other end, CAR dodged a bullet when Youssef En Nesyri well taken low shot was blocked by the keeper. But there was no stopping the forward at the stroke of fulltime when he scored the easiest of goals, tapping in from a Ziyech cross to seal the win.
Angola 0-1 DR Congo
In Luanda Neeskens Kebano was the super sub, coming off the bench to score the winner as the Democratic Republic of Congo put their hopes of qualifying for the Total Africa Cup of Nations back on track with a 1-0 victory away to Angola on Tuesday.
Kebano hit the back of the net 10 minutes after coming on in the second half as the Congolese moved to six points, just one shy of leaders Gambia and Guinea respectively.
With one point from four matches, Angola’s hopes have now been dimmed with two rounds of matches left.
A balanced opening half saw both teams create scoring opportunities but none was lucky enough to get the ball into the net. Yannick Bolassie was presented with two chances, first beating the keeper to a cross from the right but his header skied over the bar.
In the second minute, the Everton FC forward slid in to try meet up with a teasing cross from Jordan Botaka, but he was a second late as the ball rolled across the face of goal with the keeper well beaten.
Angola had their first real opportunity of the game on the half hour mark, but they couldn’t make it count as Jacinto Muondo Dala saw his fierce left foot shot saved by the keeper off a cross from the left.
A minute to the break, Fabio Goncalves showed some good feet to skip past two markers, but his low drive from range went wide, with the keeper fully stretched.
Goncalves had another opportunity three minutes after the break when he was put through on goal by Dala, but his shot from the right went against the side netting.
DR Congo made changes with Fabrice Ngoma and Samuel Moutoussamy coming off for Yanninck Bangala and Kebano. Just 10 minutes after coming on, Kebano proved to be the game changer.
The midfielder took on a daunting drive before releasing a belter of a low shot that landed on the bottom left, handing Les Leopards a worthy lead.
They held on to the advantage but the home side was never going down without a fight as they improved their forays upfront. They came close with eight minutes left, but Dala’s effort from a freekick rattled the upright, the keeper well beaten.
DR Congo managed to contain the last bits of attack to preserve the lead and put their hopes of qualification back on track.
Photo @Federação Angolana de Futebol Facebook