Soccer-Morocco fight back to draw with Gabon and take the top spot in the group


Yaounde: Morocco trailed twice and drew 2-2 with Gabon in Yaounde on Tuesday and topped Group C at the Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon.

Achraf Hakimi scored a spectacular free kick six minutes into the final to save Morocco from an upset defeat against Gabon’s team, which lost eight players due to a Covid-19 infection, including the amulet Pierre-Amerik Obamayang.

Jim Elevinah’s goal at halftime gave Gabon the lead but Sophian Baufel equalized with a 75th minute penalty, only Aaron Bupandza left Gabon behind in the last 10 minutes.

Morocco finished with seven points, two ahead of second-placed Gabon.

Gabon had some luck for the 22nd minute opener as a long ball was kicked into the field by goalkeeper Jean-Noel Amnom, missed by Moroccan center-back Sophian Chakla, who slipped while trying to clear and Elevinah ran to hit him first. Came. Time with his left foot.

For all their possession, Morocco struggled to create chances and Gabo probably scored two more goals in the first half, showing no signs of missing Obamayang, who has returned to London for further medical tests following the Covid-19 attack.

The first Baupenza turned to Chakla and only got the goalside from Moroccan goalkeeper Munir to make his attempt a little wider before Lloyd Palun firmly headed towards the goal to reject him.

Morocco eventually equalized after Andre Biogo Poco brought down Baufel, although that seemed like a trivial decision confirmed by the VAR.

Baufel stood up to make the penalty home but six minutes later Baupenza was at the end of a square pass, he squeezed the ball home from a tight angle to restore Gabon’s lead.

Hakimi then took a 2-2 lead in the late, long-range free kick and secured the top spot in the Moroccan group.

Morocco coach Wahid Halilhojic said: “It was satisfying to see the character of the players, although Gabon was very difficult, especially in a counter attack.”

Morocco will have to wait to see who they face next, while Gabon will face Burkina Faso in the opening match of the last 16 on Sunday.

Zambian referee Jenny Sikazwe, who roared when the match between Mali and Tunisia ended prematurely last week and then tried to get the teams back on the pitch after 30 minutes to play an extra four minutes, served as video assistant referee. For the match.

(Written by Mark Gleeson; Edited by Toby Davis and Hugh Lawson)

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