Morocco take on Ivory Coast in titanic clash in Group D

Morocco will battle it out with Ivory Coast on Friday in a game which is expected to be cagey at the Al-Salam Stadium.

AFCON 2019: Ivory Coast vs Morocco

The kick-off time is 5:00 pm Ghanaian time.


Morocco have won their last two contests with Ivory Coast in all competitions, as many as in their previous 11 games against the Elephants (D3, L6).

The Atlas Lions have to dig deep to overcome Namibia test and it was through an own goal. Iitamunua Keimuine not turned Hakim Ziyech’s free-kick into his own net, a draw would have been very likely.

Hakim Ziyech the most dangerous attacking player in the Morocco set up is yet to replicate his club form at Ajax last season. He will be keen in their game against Ivory Coast.

Coach of Morocco Herve Renard guided Ivory Coast to the 2015 AFCON triumph., so he knows the team very well.

While each squad is blessed with some of the best talents at the tournament, Renard appears to have made a veiled attempt to position Ivory Coast as favourites, quipping that thinking about the Elephants' strength in depth makes his head hurt.

"This is a special game for me," the Frenchman said. "Every game against Ivory Coast is always a tough one, even after my time with them.

"You have to focus on the game, a match that is currently a group match. The objective of both teams is to get out of the group.

"I was at the stadium for the match against South Africa and I found a team mastering its game. It is [usually] a habit of Ivorians to have difficult starts to competitions.

"I know the coach, this is a coach who has character and his team has talented players on the field, on the bench. I don't think about it, otherwise you get headaches."

Ivory Coast

Ivory Coast have lost only once in their last 18 group-stage games in the Africa Cup of Nations (W11 D6). That loss was in January 2017 against Morocco.

The Atlas Lions have won their last three group stage games in the Africa Cup of Nations, their longest streak at this level of the tournament since January 2000 (also three).

Ivory Coast managed to win their first ever meeting against South Africa in their opener. Jonathan Kodjia’s strike in the second half was the difference between the two teams and that should be enough to see him retain his place in the side 

However, Crystal Palace’s Wilfried Zaha will be pushing for a start after coming off the bench in the first game.

Nicolas Pepe of Lille who is on the wish list of several European clubs put up an average performance. But his free kicks were dangerous on the day, one hit the crossbar and the other saved by the goalkeeper. Pepe will however, play a crucial role when they face Morocco on Friday.

A 2-0 win away to Ivory Coast in November 2017 secured Morocco's place in Russia and, although this will be their first meeting since, Kamara insists vengeance is not on the mind of his players.

"We're not here for revenge," said head coach Kamara, who oversaw Ivory Coast's Under-20s when Renard was in charge of the senior side.

"In football, every match is different to deal with. Our main aim is to qualify, not to beat Morocco and then go home.

"I'm glad to see Renard again. He's Morocco's coach now and I'm Ivory Coast's, and both of us aim for our teams to qualify.

"Renard is used to the big competitions and this particular one relies on strength, but we will still play to win and qualify."

Head to head 

The Elephants have faced the Atlas Lions 21 times. It is a close contest, with Ivory Coast having won seven against six by Morocco, with eight games ending in a draw,

Ivory Coast have lost only one of their four games in the Africa Cup of Nations against Morocco, two.


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