Saturday Oct 12, 2019. 12:00
A depleted Morocco were held to a 1-1 draw by Libya on Friday as they played an international in the north-eastern city of Oudja for the first time in some 40 years.
With captain Mehdi Benatia announcing his retirement from international football and key players Younes Belhanda, Nabil Dirar, Noussair Mazraoui, Romain Saiss and Hakim Ziyech all absent through injury, Morocco were undercooked for the friendly international as new coach Vahid Halilhodzic looked to prepare the team for next month’s start of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.
Morocco did take the lead after 20 minutes through Italian-based central defender Jawad El Yamiq, who headed home Faycal Fajr’s cornber.
Yet for all their possession, Morocco struggled to create a real opportunity with only six shots on goal.
A blunder by goalkeeper Yassine Bounou allowed Libya to equalise in the 42nd minute.
He dropped a corner, setting off a goalmouth melee and Libya had several attempts at trying to poke home the ball before Sanad El Warfali, the Raja Casablanca defender, applied the finishing touch.
It was the second time he had scored against Morocco.
Multiple changes in the second half did not allowed the Atlas Lions to step on the accelerator and there was further bad news near the end of the game when, first, Omar El Kaddouri, on his return to the squad, was injured.
Morocco will host Gabon in Tangier on Tuesday in another friendly.