Morocco aiming to close out AFCON qualifiers on a high

Morocco aiming to close out AFCON qualifiers on a high
Morocco players warming up before the 2023 International football friendly between Ivory Coast and Morocco at the Felix Houphouet Boigny Stadium in Abidjan, Ivory Coast on 14 October 2023 ©Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

by Staff Reporter

Monday Oct 16, 2023. 15:00

Morocco will look to finish top of Group K when they close out their 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying campaign against Liberia at the Adrar Stadium in Agadir on Tuesday night.

Kick-off is at 9pm CAT (SA, GMT+2)

The game is effectively a dead rubber as the Atlas Lions have already booked their place at the continental showpiece in Ivory Coast next year alongside South Africa in Group K.

But Walid Regragui’s side have a chance to reclaim top spot after Bafana Bafana overtook them into first place following a 2-1 win in Johannesburg on June 17.

The continent’s no. 1 ranked team has struggled for results since their heroics at the 2022 World Cup, where they made history by becoming the first African nation to reach the semi-finals.

Morocco played out to a 1-1 draw with Ivory Coast in Abidjan on Saturday which left them with just two wins from six matches in 2023 – not the ideal build-up for their title challenge at AFCON 2023.

Regragui conceded they were lucky to come away with a share of the spoils against the Elephants, although he believes his side will be prepared for the tournament.

“Today we don’t deserve to draw, we’re going to learn a lot! I didn’t really like what we did in the first half. The players didn’t do what I asked them to do.” he said in the post-match press conference.

“We will learn from this match in order to be ready for the CAN [Africa Cup of Nations].”

Liberia only have one point to show for their efforts in Group K after they staged an impressive fightback to draw 2-2 with South Africa in Johannesburg on March 24.

Home defeats to the Atlas Lions and Bafana Bafana all but ruined their hopes of qualifying for the AFCON finals and the Lone Stars come into this clash on the back of a 10-match winless run.

A 3-2 loss to Libya in Khouribga, Morocco on Saturday was their third defeat on the spin, but head coach Ansumana Keita will view the game as ideal preparation for the upcoming 2026 World Cup qualifiers against Malawi and Equatorial Guinea.

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