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Saturday, December 2, 2023

Morocco edges Burkina Faso 1-0 in tightly contested friendly

The expectations were not high for Les Étalons going into their friendly against a star studded Moroccan side, but despite leaving out star attackers Bertrand Traoré and Lassina Traoré, Burkina Faso fought valiantly in their 1-0 defeat to the Atlas Lions. Inter Milan right back Achraf Hakimi’s 51st minute goal was the difference for Morocco on the day to give them their second consecutive 1-0 victory of the international break following a victory on Tuesday against Ghana.

Morocco continued to sputter a bit in attack and the first opportunity did not come for the home side until the 27th minute. A corner kick was cleared out beyond the corner of the Burkinabé penalty area where Hakimi collected and launched a hard low strike that went wide of Hervé Kouakou Koffi’s goal. Five minutes later Raja Casablanca playmaker Soufiane Rahimi was set up by a cross from Adel Taarabt but directed his first time strike wide.

Hakimi’s moment of class came just after the halftime break when he launched a perfect free kick that went off the foot of Koffi’s post and over the line, leaving the Burkinabé keeper with no chance. However, Burkina Faso increased their efforts and managed quite a few decent looks at the Moroccan goal following their concession. The best chance for the visitors came in the 79th minute when a low cross went beyond Moroccan keeper Munir but was cleared away before a Burkinabé attacker could apply the finish and then a flurry of shots in the 87th minute could not grab the equalizer.

All things considered, Burkina Faso will be satisfied with the effort of some of the fringe players in the squad and will take confidence from the match as they prepare for a World Cup qualifying group that includes Algeria. Morocco obtained two wins out of two matches but their efforts in both games were rather convincing this international break. Highlights of the match are below.