January 26, 2022

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Afcon 2021: Morocco secures AFCON last-16 spot

2 min read

Morocco booked their place in the last-16 of the Africa Cup of Nations with a 2-0 victory over Comoros despite a heroic display from goalkeeper Salim Ben Boina.

Having beaten Ghana 1-0 in their opening match, the Moroccans produce a performance that was impressive in every department bar their finishing as they missed a hatful of chances.

Selim Amallah’s first-half strike looked set to prove the only goal of the game until Zakaria Aboukhlal’s VAR awarded effort a minute from time finally clinched the points.

Comoros, playing at their first AFCON, had been beaten 1-0 by Gabon in their opener and their need to take at least a point from their second game made for an open encounter, even after Amallah had fired through a host of bodies after good work from PSG star Achraf Hakimi to open the scoring on 18 minutes.

Former Southampton midfielder Sofiane Boufal, who scored the winner against Ghana, was impressive again but forward Ayoub El Kaabi was particularly wasteful.

Ben Boina, however, was magnificent, making a number of excellent saves, including a remarkable triple stop, when he denied three Moroccan players from close range in quick succession.

The 30-year-old, who plays his club football in the French fourth tier with Martigues, looked to have blotted his copybook when fouling substitute Fayçal Fajr to give Morocco the chance to seal the points from the spot. However, he instantly made amends by denying Youssef En-Nesyri from 12 yards.

When Aboukhlal did eventually slide the ball past the ‘keeper it looked as if he, too, would be denied, on this occasion by the linesman’s flag, but VAR intervened to finally seal the result.

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