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SPORTS

Morocco overcome Comoros to reach last 16 at Cup of Nations

FOOTBALL By Reuters | January 15th 2022
Morocco's Sofiane Boufal, second left, celebrates with teammates after scoring during the African Cup of Nations 2022 group B soccer match between Morocco and Ghana at the Ahmadou Ahidjo stadium in Yaounde, Cameroon, Monday Jan. 10, 2021. AP

Morocco proved too strong for the Comoros Islands at the Africa Cup of Nations on Friday, winning 2-0 to stay top of Group C and ensure progress to the last 16 of the finals in Cameroon.

Selim Amallah scored after 16 minutes and Zakaria Aboukhlal struck at the final whistle to ensure the win after Youssef En-Nesyri had an 82nd minute penalty saved.

The score would have been significantly more one-sided had Morocco taken all their chances as they overwhelmed the tournament debutants at the Ahmadou Ahidjo Stadium.

Morocco now have six points while Comoros have yet to open their account. Gabon, who have three points, and Ghana, on none, play their second group match at the stadium later on Friday.

Amallah opened the scoring by blasting home from close range after picking up a rebound following some frenetic defending to give Morocco a deserved lead.

Their captain Romain Saiss headed a corner against the crossbar in the 37th minute and there were two more good chances for Ayoub El Kaabi after the break.

Morocco picked up the pace in the second half and at times laid siege to the goal but found Comoros goalkeeper Salim Ben Boina hard to beat, while also missing some glaring chances.

El Kaabi was again guilty of wasting opportunities while the Comoros defenders tackled desperately to keep their star-studded opponents at bay.

En-Nesyri, whose participation at the tournament had been in doubt because of injury with his Spanish club Sevilla, came on in the second half for his first run out in a boost for Morocco but had his spot kick saved.

But former Dutch youth international Aboukhlal finally doubled the lead for Morocco as he tucked away a goal in the last minute. He was initially flagged offside but the decision overturned after consultation with VAR.

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