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This was a disappointing tournament for the Atlas Lions as they failed to qualify for the knockout stage although they had brought in a strong squad with players who campaign in top European Leagues.
Eric Gerets side dominated their first match against rivals Tunisia but they were not clinical enough upfront, while Tunisian goalkeeper Aymen Mathlouthi had a decent game, and ended up losing the match 2-1.
Morocco never recovered from that defeat as they lost their second match in dramatic fashion, losing to hosts Gabon 3-2 courtesy of an injury-time free-kick from Zita Mbanangoye.
Although a Youness Belhanda strike handed them a 1-0 win in their dead rubber clash against Niger, it was all too little too late as they ended third in Group C, behind Gabon and Tunisia.
Captain Houssine Kharja gave his best, scoring their only goal against Tunisia and a brace against Gabon, but all his efforts were in vain as they lost both matches.
Morocco enjoyed two decades of prominence on the African football stage which saw them win the 1976 African Cup of Nations hosted by Ethiopia. Four years later the Atlas Lions finished third in 1980, while 1986 and 1988 saw them earn fourth spot.
The North Africans earned world recognition when they became the first ever African side to finish top of their group in the FIFA WorldCup. In Mexico 1986, they finish ahead of football heavy weights Poland, Portugal and England.
A top group finish also meant that the Moroccans became the first African squad to progress through to the second round of a World Cup, an impressive feat for a nation growing in football stature.
The year of 1998 saw them receive their highest ranking ever on the FIFA world ranking stage, which resulted in them earning a much deserved tenth position on the table.
Under coach Badu Zaki, Morocco finished as runners-up in the 2004 African Cup of Nations, where they lost 2-1 to the host nation Tunisia.
Though two decades of struggle proceeded as they failed to progress passed the first round of the tournament.
In October 2011, Morocco qualified as Group D leaders for the 2012 African Cup of Nations which is to be played in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea.
Eric Gerets men topped the group above Central African Republic, Algeria and Tanzania, with Algeria inflicting the only loss on the Lions.
|2012 AFRICA CUP OF NATIONS TEAM RECORD|
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