All to play for between Atlas Lions and Leopards

All to play for between Atlas Lions and Leopards
Christian Luyindama of DR Congo and Youssef En-Nesyri of Morocco challenge for possession during the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifier between DR Congo and Morocco held at the Pentecost Martyrs Stadium in Kinshasa, DR Congo on 25 March 2022 © Imad Attalal/BackpagePix

by Staff Reporter

Monday Mar 28, 2022. 16:00

Morocco host DR Congo at Stade Mohammed V on Tuesday night in the second leg of their playoff qualifier with the winner booking their place at the 2022 World Cup.

Kick-off is at 9.30pm CAT (SA, GMT+2)

The Atlas Lions hold a slender advantage going into the crunch tie in Casablanca after scoring an away goal in the first leg on Friday.

Yoane Wissa had given the Leopards a 12th-minute lead at Stade des Martyrs, but Tarik Tissoudali equalised with 14 minutes remaining to earn Vahid Halilhodzic’s side a 1-1 draw.

Ryan Mmaee had earlier missed from the penalty spot for the Moroccans, while Ngonda Muzinga was sent off for the hosts five minutes from time after picking up his second caution of the game.

Halilhodzic wants to see a marked improvement from his players in the home leg after admitting they struggled to cope with the heat in Kinshasa as well as the playing surface.

“We played against a very good team. Everything remains to be done in Casablanca. The pitch and the heat, it was too complicated today,” the Bosnian tactician said in a press conference.

“We will do better in the return leg but this was the playoff match par excellence. We’ll do better in the return leg, but this was the playoff match of all matches.”

Muzinga’s red card will force DR Congo head coach Hector Cuper to re-shuffle his pack at the back, although the Argentine insists the setback won’t detract from their desire to reach the World Cup finals for the first time since 1974.

“We will do everything on the field to win, and we want to give joy to the Congolese people, and we must not look for excuses,” Cuper told Hesport.

The head-to-head record remains evenly split between the two teams following a second successive draw, with one win each from their four encounters to date.

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