Can Libya crash Morocco’s CHAN party?

Can Libya crash Morocco’s CHAN party?
Ismail El Haddad of Morocco evades tackle from Vitapi Vitapi Ngaruka of Namibia during the 2018 Chan quarterfinal football match between Morocco and Namibia at Stade Mohammed V in Casablanca, Morocco on 27 January 2018 ©Gavin Barker/BackpagePix

by Graeme Jackson

Monday Jan 29, 2018. 12:30

Libya will look to crash Morocco’s 2018 African Nations Championship party when the teams meet in the first semifinal on Wednesday evening, set for the Stade Mohamed V in Casablanca at 18h30 CAT.

Libya have had a mixed run to the semis, with their group stage campaign marred by a defeat to Nigeria, while their quarterfinal victory over Congo on Sunday night came via penalties.

The teams were locked 1-1 after extra time thanks to goals from Libya’s Saleh Al Taher and Congo’s Junior Makiesse, before the Mediterranean Knights won the post-match shootout 5-4.

Coach Omar Al-Marimi has cajoled his side to better performances throughout the tournament and will be hopeful that the prospect of a regional derby against the Atlas Lions - and the chance to crash their party on home soil - brings the best out of his players.

Hosts Morocco, meanwhile, have enjoyed a great run to the final four of the continental tournament, topping Group A before they ousted surprise packages Namibia 2-0 in the quarterfinals this past weekend, thanks to goals from Ayoub El Kaabi (his sixth in the CHAN) and Salaheddine Saidi.

“Before the match, we trained for all possible scenarios. We analysed the Namibian team very well. We identified their dangerous players and made sure that when we play, we find ways to stop them and we did,” coach Jamal Sellami said.

“We encountered some difficulties. Namibia is a very well organised team. We could see the organisation was done in a professional manner.But today we came out on top. They played a good game and we scored at the right moments.”

Morocco and Libya have met in 11 official matches according to FIFA’s statistics database. The Atlas Lions have claimed five wins compared to two for the Knights. Morocco won 4-0 when the teams last met, a friendly match played in Rades in October 2015.

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