Morocco Football Team
Morocco’s Atlas Lions have sealed their ticket for the 2022 World Cup by beating the Democratic Republic of Congo 4-1 in tonight’s second leg of the FIFA World Cup playoffs.
With their display tonight, the Atlas Lions proved that teamplay is key to success, and it would be disingenuous to assign their success to any force other than their apparent determination to atone for their early exit from this year’s Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON).
The Atlas Lions made history tonight, and in the process they effectively brought hope back to disgruntled fans who have still not made peace with their national team’s disappointing display at the AFCON.
Following a hard-fought 1-1 draw in the first leg, the Atlas Lions had no room for mistakes tonight, both players and their coach said before the game.
With an early injury, Jawad El Yamiq left the pitch to leave his place to Samy Mmaee.
Achraf Hakimi attempted to find Ayoub El Kaabi at the 9th minute but put far too much on the pass and the chance was gone.
The Atlas Lions dominated the first minutes of the game, putting the Congolese goalkeeper Joel Kiassumbua through tough moments with El Kaabi and Hakimi especially putting pressure on him.
In the 13th minute, El Kaabi received a low pass inside the box, controlled the ball, and drilled it to the middle of the goal, but it comfortably rested in Kiassumbua’s hands.
Morocco’s Atlas Lions spent the first 20 minutes of the first half keeping control of the game, but with no good finishing.
From a nice shot in the 21st minute, Azzedine Ounahi scored a spectacular opening goal, slamming the ball straight inside the right post.
The game was interrupted after seven minutes of play due to Morocco’s goalkeeper Yassine Bounou's injury.
The Sevilla keeper appeared to be alright after a first round of treatment. As the pain persisted, however, Bounou left the pitch and was replaced by Muni El Mohamedi.
Congo’s Leopards grew more confident and more to the game, showing some control over the ball, but always faced a more focused Atlas Lions lineup.
Buoyed by their ecstatic fans, Morocco’s Atlas Lions managed to confidently build up the second goal of the game. Tarik Tissoudali patiently received a ball that passed a paralyzed Congolese defensive wall, and he patiently netted in the 52nd minute.
The first half ended with a well-deserved 2-0 and scenes of happy fans chanting in the stands of the Mohamed V Stadium.
The second half kicked off where the first half had ended, with the Congolese defense trying to contain Morocco’s defense-splitting long passes and Morocco pushing harder to kill the game..
Congo’s desperate efforts to contain Morocco’s defense-splitting passes were in vain, however. Tissoudali produced a great pass to find Ounahi ready inside the penalty area, and the Moroccan player took advantage of the situation to rifle a shot into the bottom right corner, scoring Morocco’s third goal, and his second in the game, in the 54th minute.
Congo’s Leopards were desperate to regain their form and grow back into the game, but a focused Moroccan squad supported by fans proved hard to trouble.
Ounahi launched a spectacular shot that ricocheted off the Congolese goalkeeper and back to Morocco's Achraf Hakimi inside the box, and the PSG right-back scored Morocco’s fourth goal in the 69th minute.
Congo’s Ben Malango Ngita managed to score a consolation goal for the Leopardsafter receiving a nice pass from Cedrik Bakambu in the 77th minute.
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