Morocco eyeing Portugal scalp

Morocco eyeing Portugal scalp
Amine Harit of Morocco (R) and Ramin Rezaeian of Iran in action during the FIFA World Cup 2018

by Phumzile Ngcatshe

Tuesday Jun 19, 2018. 09:29

Morocco are out to secure their first win in the 2018 FIFA World Cup as they lock horns against Portugal in Group B on Wednesday afternoon.

The Atlas Lions are hoping to bag their second win over the Europeans, whom they beat in 1986 at the World Cup in Mexico.

Although coach Herve Renard saw his men losing 1-0 to Iran last Friday in their opener, he will guide his troops to improve their defending.

Morocco dominated the proceedings in the match, but succumbed to a late goal and they are under pressure to avoid their second loss.

With the team set to miss Nordin Amrabat, who is ruled out due to concussion sustained in their loss, attacking midfielder Faycal Fajr is positive, despite the pain of conceding an own goal.

Sitting at the bottom of the table with zero points from their loss, Morocco have an uphill battle on Wednesday, whilst their opponents occupy the second spot with a point.

Moreover, the Atlas Lions will hope to repeat history and beat the Portuguese at Mexico 1986 as Fajr said their football is not dead.

“I am not going to talk about all Portuguese players. We also have good players and we will do everything to upset them! Achraf Hakimi knows Cristiano well, he will tell us about him,” he said.

“We have started the game well (against Iran), but we did not seize the opportunities.

“We believe it anyway! If I tell you that I do not believe it, what are you going to say? We are not dead, we only want to go back in this game!

“We know it will be difficult (against Portugal), but we will do everything to make a good result!.”

A look at the Navigators, Portugal are also under pressure to secure a win after a thrilling 3-3 draw against Spain last week.

However, coach Fernando Santos will hope his men improve their defending after taking an early lead against La Roja, only to chase the game to settle for a point.

However, the coach will bank on skipper Cristiano Ronaldo, who was in an uncompromising mood last week after netting the first hat-trick of this year’s global showpiece.

The clash will be staged on Wednesday afternoon at Stadion Luzhiniki in Moscow at 14:00 (CAT).

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