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AFCON 2023: Morocco assert dominance over heavy underdogs Tanzania

Morocco avoided the trend of group stage upsets at the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations on Wednesday with a routine 3-0 victory over Group F foes Tanzania at the Stade Laurent Pokou in San Pédro. Captain Romain Saïss put the Atlas Lions ahead around the half hour mark and victory was confirmed through second half strikes from Azzedine Ounahi and Youssef En-Nesyri to mark a first victory from a North African team at the competition. Morocco will look to seize full control of the group against DR Congo on Sunday while Tanzania continue their search for a first AFCON point against Zambia.

The Tanzanian team came out determined to engage their Moroccan opponents with physical play and the strategy found some success in the early stages even if the Taifa Stars posed little to no threat on the attack. Morocco focused their attacks on the right wing through Hakim Ziyech but were limited to long range strikes against the Tanzanian bunker. However a breakthrough appeared inevitable and the North African side confirmed their advantage close to half hour mark when a swerving Ziyech free kick was pushed by Taifa Stars goalkeeper Aishi Manula right to Saïss who was left with an easy finish from the rebound.

Poor finishing kept the favorites from doubling their lead and a brighter start to the second half from Tanzania suggested the match was not over. Inaccurate passing in transition from the Taifa Stars prevented any substantial danger to the Moroccan defense and after midfielder Novatus Dismas was sent off for a second yellow card following his 70th minute challenge on Ounahi the match became increasingly one-sided.

It was Ounahi who ended Tanzanian hopes of a result seven minutes later. An excellent buildup down the right wing led to substitute Amine Adli receiving the ball in the penalty area before laying off to the Olympique Marseille midfielder who rolled his finish past Manula to double the lead. The dominance continued and a few minutes later En-Nesyri was wide open to to fire in the third from Achraf Hakimi’s cross, a goal that was initially disallowed but confirmed by VAR.

Highlights from Morocco’s victorious opener are below.

Match Highlights

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