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Preview: Morocco vs. Gabon

First place in Group C is up for grabs at the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations when group favorites Morocco meet Gabon on Tuesday. The Atlas Lions and their impenetrable defense are looking like one of the prime candidates to claim top honors at the competition following comfortable victories over Ghana and Comoros. Gabon have dealt with plenty of chaos in their camp due to Covid-19 as well as the disruptive presences of stars Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Mario Lemina, whose dismissals from the team has led to media speculation.

Morocco are cruising through the group stage and it appears that the only issue for manager Vahid Halilhodžić is CAF’s scheduling of press conferences after the Bosnian coach’s comments condemning requests at the last minute. Captain and center back Romain Saïss is a new addition to the injury list with he and forward Ryan Mmaee questionable for Tuesday’s encounter. Covid-19 has made a slight impact on the squad during the group stages, but Halilhodžić should have just about everybody to call on. The Atlas Lions may have a couple of new players in the lineup with qualification for the knockout stage secured but will be fully focused on finishing Group C play with a perfect record.

The Gabonese camp has been the subject of scandal and disruption, but manager Patrice Neveu’s team continues to get the job done despite poor attitudes from his stars and numerous positive Covid-19 results. Major headlines have been made by Aubameyang and Lemina for catching Covid-19 while out partying before the tournament started, and now the European-based stars have been sent home. The official reason given was that they were sent back to Europe for further evaluation by their clubs, but Gabonese publication L’Union revealed from a source that Aubameyang and Lemina returned to the team in a drunken state and were sent home for further disciplinary violations. In addition, more players have tested positive for Covid including star forward Denis Bouanga and starter from last match Serge-Junior Martinsson Ngouali. Defender Lloyd Palun is back from his quarantine to boost the Panthers defense.

The links below have the full news and comments from both camps.

Gabon, Morocco to battle for Group C top spot (SuperSport)
Gabon vs Morocco – Towards the next round (CAF Online)
Match Facts – Gabon v Morocco (CAF Online)
Probable Morocco lineup (Lions de L’Atlas)

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