Morocco rally to down Togo, DR Congo and Morocco draw

By alex wafula
Jan 21, 2017
  • Morocco bounced back in contention for the quarter final after beating Togo 3-1. (Photo Courtesy)

Herve Renard’s bid to make history by being the first coach to win the African Cup of Nations with three different teams remained on course as Morocco battled from a goal down to beat Togo 3-1 and enhance their chances of qualifying for the quarter finals.

The Atlas Lions bounced back from their disappointing day one 1-0 loss at the hands of DR Congo.

Earlier, the Congolese drew 2-2 with defending champions Ivory Coast who twice came from behind.

Morocco face Ivory Coast, Renard’s former side in their last group match and it is expected to be a fiery match. A draw will take the North Africans through while the holders will need a win to qualify to the quarters.

Morocco had a nightmare start in their match against Togo finding themselves a goal down after just four minutes.

From a quickly executed counter attack off a Morocco corner, Mathieu Dossevi side footed into the net from the right after being put through by Floyd Ayite.

But 10 minutes later, Morocco who last won the Cup of Nations in 1976 equalized through Aziz Bouhaddouz who rose high to head in after Togo keeper Kossi Agassa missed to pick the ball from a corner.

Morocco grabbed the lead, again from another set piece as Romain Saiss sneaked in at the edge of the six yard box to flick home a free kick from Faycal Fajr.

Togo were stunned right in their faces and they sought to get back into the game. Captain Emmanuel Adebayor led from the front in search of the equalizer. He battled his markers on the left but his goal bound shot was blocked for an unused corner.

Organized Morocco side

In the second half, the Togolese side kept their push for a goal but was put off by an organized Morocco side which wanted to guard their lead at all costs.

Renard’s men put the game beyond doubt in the 72nd minute. Substitute Youssef En-nesyri’s shot from distance took an awkward bounce infront of a diving Agassa, evading his guard and into the net.

In the exciting early kick off, Ivorian skipper Serey Die rescued his side with a late second half goal. Neeskens Kebano had given Les Leopards the lead early in the game before Wilfiried Bony equalized for the holders.

Junior Kabananga headed Congo back into the lead but Die’s late goal denied them the three points and a ticket to the quarters.

Kebano broke the deadlock in the ninth minute after picking a pass from Kabananga who did well to shield a throwing and pick out his team mate. Bony should have taken The Elephants back into contention with a free header inside the box but the effort went wide.

He made amends minutes later, this time heading into the net from a more difficult position sandwiched between Congolese defenders but still managing to head in from a corner in the 24th minute.

Three minutes later though, a case of suspect defending by Ivory Coast gifted DR Congo with another goal, Kabananga heading strongly unmarked at the far post.

In the second half, the Michel Dussuyer coached Ivory Coast side camped in the Congolese half in search of an equalizer and it came with 18 minutes left, Die’s shot from 30 yards out deflecting off a Congolese defender and past Ley Matampi.

Substitute Salomon Kalou thought he had snatched a stoppage-time winner for the Ivorians, but his goal from a set piece was ruled offside.