Morocco fancied in an all North African affair
The semi-finals await for one of Egypt or Morocco, and both will more than fancy their chances in this one. The Stade Ahmadou Ahidjo will play host to what could be an AFCON classic, with these sides clashing for the first time in nearly five years. Two of the continents major sides, I'm anticipating a feisty affair on Sunday.
Egypt looking to make it back to the promised land
Africa's most decorated nation when it comes to AFCON, holding seven titles to their name. But it's been 12 years since their last triumph, and making it this far in the tournament this year has been a struggle.
- Nigeria 1-0 Egypt (11.01.22)
- Guinea-Bissau 0-1 Egypt (15.01.22)
- Egypt 1-0 Sudan (19.01.22)
Round of 16:
- Ivory Coast 0-0 Egypt (4-5 Egypt win on pens) (26.01.22)
No game so far in the tournament for the Pharoahs has produced more than one goal. Defensively, Egypt have been imperious this tournament, conceding just once in their four matches.
Surprisingly however, considering their obvious attacking focal point in Mo Salah, they've been blunted by the majority of sides. However, he stepped up when his country needed him last time out.
Their dramatic victory on penalties against the much fancied Ivory Coast was sealed a famous advancement to the next round. Mo Salah's winning penality made up for a host of squandered chances for Egypt in this match.
The Atlas Lions on the prowl
Morocco on the other hand are unbeaten in this tournament, extending a run in which they've lost just once dating back to 2019. They're looking almost unstoppable in this rich vein of form.
Morocco 1-0 Ghana (10.01.22)
Morocco 2-0 Comoros (14.01.22)
Gabon 2-2 Morocco (18.01.22)
Round of 16:
Morocco 2-1 Malawi (25.01.22)
Morocco were put to the sword by a resilient Malawi side in the previous round, going 1-0 down just seven minutes in. Sevilla striker Youssef En-Nesyri pulled one back on the stroke of half time for his side.
An Achraf Hakimi free kick from some way out at the 70th minute mark put the favourites ahead in a game which they dominated for nearly the entire match. They've been in imperious form, and at times looked like they can go on and score four or five in a game where they only get a couple of goals.
The Malawi and Comoros games were prime examples of this. But if they can find their finishing boots by Sunday, Egypt could be in trouble.
Some interesting trivia
- This is the seventh time these sides have met at AFCON, with Morocco winning three of the last six.
- Last time out however, Egypt triumphed 1-0 back in 2017.
- Romain Saiss has accumulated the highest xG of any player at AFCON who's yet to score with an xG of 1.99.
While Egypt will have the wind in their sails after their victory over the Ivory Coast, Morocco have looked the more assured of the two sides throughout this competition so far. However, there's a good chance Egypt could frustrate Morocco and see this to extra-time and maybe even penalties.
That's why I'm going with Morocco to advance to the next round with bet365