Press review: Morocco win North African derby
By The Atlas Lions, Nov 20 2018 07:44PM
(Africanfootball.com) Morocco edged Tunisia 1-0 in an international friendly played at the Olympic Stadium in Rades on Tuesday night.
The Atlas Lions backed up their 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying win over Cameroon last Friday with a victory in this regional derby, while the Carthage Eagles suffered a second straight loss to a fellow North Africa after their 3-2 defeat in Egypt.
Morocco opened the scoring late in the first half, with Mehdi Benatia’s low shot from a short free kick saved by goalkeeper Farouk Ben Mustapha, but Youssef En Nesyri was on hand to turn home the rebound in the 41st minute.
Tunisia had earlier dominated possession and tried to press high whenever they didn’t have the ball, but they were unable to create any clear chances to test out Atlas Lions gloves-man Monir El Kajoui.
Sofiane Boufal nearly added to Morocco’s advantage just before the hour mark, slipping past a couple of challenges before sending a shot narrowly wide of the target.
In general the second half followed the same pattern as the first, with the Carthage Eagles dictating the pace, but the Atlas Lions looked more threatening in attack.
The hosts looked to boost their hopes with several introductions from the subs bench, but continued to lack a cutting edge in the final third.
Late in the game Tunisia almost claimed an equaliser but substitute Mohamed Drager, when presented with a clear chance in front of goal, was unable to hit the target, leaving Morocco to claim victory.
Both teams will return to action next March when they wrap up their 2019 AFCON qualification campaigns: Morocco will be away to Malawi, while Tunisia host eSwatini.
Morocco (1) 1 (En Nesyri 41’)
Tunisia: Ben Mustapha, Nagguez (Mathlouthi 90+1’), Skhiri (Bedoui 73’), Sassi (Chaouat 65’), Haddadi, Ben Amor (Karoui 90+1’), Meriah, Khaoui (Srarfi 57’), Ben Yousseff, Khazri, Sliti (Drager 79’)
Morocco: El Kajoui, Dirar (Hakimi 69’), Benatia (Da Costa 46’), Amrabat (Mazraoui 86’), Fajr, Ait Bennasser, El Hajjam, Hafidi (Azaro 46’), Boufal (El Ahmadi 89’), Saiss, En Nesyri