Atlas Lions maintain 100% win record in WC qualifiers

Atlas Lions maintain 100% win record in WC qualifiers
Hakim Ziyech of Morocco ©Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

by Staff Reporter

Friday Jun 07, 2024. 22:46

Morocco made it two wins out of two games in the CAF 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers this week, after the Atlas Lions recorded a 2-1 win against Zambia at Stade Adrar on Friday night.

It was all Morocco inside the first four minutes at Stade Adrar and took the lead early on. Following a swift passing move into the Zambia box, the Atlas Lions were awarded a penalty in the 5th minute, which was calmly converted by Hakim Ziyech.

Zambia saw much of the ball midway through the first-half despite being a goal light. Despite the Copper Bullets taking the game to the home team, Morocco created numerous scoring chances, particularly after set-play situations.

The Atlas Lions began turning the screws as the half-hour mark approached, prompting Zambia to guard the edge of their 18-yard-area, with the hope of catching the home side on the break.

The pace of the game slowed down considerably toward the half-time whistle, with neither side creating any notable goal scoring chances.  Nevertheless, the Atlas Lions went into the break with Ziyech’s effort separating the two sides at Stade Adrar

Morocco looked lively after the restart and put the travelling side under pressure straight away. With the Copper Bullets sitting on the edge of their box, the likes of Ziyech and Brahim Diaz probed with the view of getting bodies into the danger area.

Ziyech showcased his frustration after being taken off in the 63rd minute of the game, after proving to be his nation’s attacker-in-chief throughout the match. While the Atlas Lions actively searched for a second goal, Zambia’s aggressive counter pressing often gave the hosts problems, particularly in the middle of the pitch.

Morocco managed to double their advantage in the 67th minute as Elise Ben Seghir joined Ziyech on the scoresheet. Following a tantalizing passing move that was created by Diaz on the edge of the Zambia box, the Real Madrid star managed to pick out Seghir with a squared ball from the byline, who calmly slotted the ball into the back of the net from close range.

Having tried all game long, Zambia managed to draw one back in the 80th minute as Edward Chilufya capped off a clinical counter-attacking move from inside his own half. After latching onto a well-weighted through ball into the Morocco box, the Zambia number 10 gave the keeper the eyes with a low finish toward the near post.

With the Copper Bullets fighting back late on in the tie, it was Morocco who ended the game as the stronger of the two teams, after creating a couple scoring opportunities in the process. That said, the Atlas Lions held on to secure an important 2-1 victory against Zambia on home soil.

Morocco: Bounou, Saiss, Aguerd, Hakimi, Attiat-Allah, Ziyech (Rahimi 64’), Diaz, El Azzouzi, Ounahi (El Khannouss 78’), Ben Seghir (Adli 77’), En-Nesyri (El Kaabi 64’)

Zambia: Mulenga, Sunzu, L. Musonda, F. Musonda, Mwape (Musonda 89’), Mphande, E.Banda (Kangwa 86’), Kampamba (Chilufya 78’), Kangwa, Chaiwa, Daka


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