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Morocco 1-0 Namibia: Brave Warriors Laboured in Vain

Morocco needed a 90th-minute own-goal by substitute Itamunua Keimuine to overcome stubborn Namibia in their opening game at the Africa Cup of Nations.
Coached by twice-winner Herve Renard, Morocco boast a number of standout players including Ajax star Hakim Ziyech and are considered amongst the favourites for the competition.

However, while they dominated possession, the Atlas Lions lacked the creativity and imagination to break down minnows Nambia, ranked 111 in the world.

Morocco were limited to one half-chance in the opening 45 minutes, with defender Nabil Dirar going closest with a first-time shot from distance that was always rising, though Nordin Amrabat had a decent case for a penalty ignored.

Their frustrations grew after the interval but the introduction of Sofiane Boufal added directness to their attack and the substitute was only a couple of inches from breaking the deadlock with a lovely curling effort. Ziyech forced Lloyd Kazapua into a great stop as holes began to appear in the Namibia defence, before Keimuine - only on as an 80th-minute substitute - conceded a free-kick and then headed into his own net from Ziyech's cross at the death to break Namibia hearts.
It was a stroke of much-needed luck for Morocco, who come into the competition on poor form and are in the 'Group of Death' with Ivory Coast - their opponents this Friday - and South Africa.

By Olamide Oyetunji

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