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Africa Cup of Nations
January 20, 2013
• FNB Stadium (Soccer City), Johannesburg, GA
Referee: B. Diatta
• Attendance: 25000
That is it from me for tonight, but be sure to join us at Goal.com for more coverage of tomorrow's AFCON fixtures. My name is Tom Webber and it has been a pleasure to guide you through tonight's action. Have a lovely evening.
That is it, it is all over and it finishes Angola 0-0 Morocco. Both teams had chances to find the net, though the Palancas Negras probably had the best of the bunch. Manucho's miss at the end summing up what was a pretty average game of football.
90' + 3'
A free kick into the box misses Manucho but loops up and drops to Guilherme. He waits for it to drop but fails to connect with the ball. A golden chance goes begging.
90' + 2'
Achchakir goes down following a collision with Manucho. He stays down in order to receive some treatment, but surely he is only wasting his own team's time?!
90' + 1'
We are into the first of three additional minutes. Are we going to have a winner in Johannesburg?
THAT WAS THE CHANCE!! More brilliant work by Mateus to drive wide on the right before whipping in a super cross. Manucho throws himself at the ball but fails to divert his header onto the target. He gets up and blames Guilherme for attacking the ball too, but he only has himself to blame for that miss.
Well held by Lamyaghri!! Mateus does well to turn Belhanda, who has a nibble at the forward, and get a shot away. It has pace and power but is directed straight at the keeper who manages to clutch it tight to his chest.
Just a few minutes left now. Surely we cannot have to 0-0 draws on the opening day of AFCON 2013?
ANGOLA COME CLOSE TO WINNING IT!! Marco Airosa puts in the first decent cross from the right but the Morocco defence manage to beat Guilherme to the ball. Possession is loose and Manucho latches onto it, arrowing a shot for the bottom corner that drifts just outside the goal.
Karim El Ahmadi
It is perhaps unsurprising, given this performance, that the 23-man Morocco squad have amassed a measly 12 goals between them. Given, there are some young players in the side, but Manucho has scored more than that alone for Angola.
SO CLOSE!! Finally Amrabat makes a surging run down the right wing and drills in a low cross between the defenders and the keeper. However, El Arabi does not opt to gamble and the ball rolls all the way through untouched. The Galata player voices his displeasure at the lack of movement.
Yellow Card Younes Belhanda
Again, it is the wrong choice from Angola at a set piece. Geraldo's delivery lacks height and is hooked away by Benatia. That has been the most disappointing aspect of their game today.
That was very close to being a devastating mistake from Pirolito. His short pass on the edge of the box falls to Amrabat but the Galatasaray man cannot find a gap to shoot through and his effort is blocked.
Just over 15 minutes but @OtavioBortham still believes that Angola can win this one. They almost get a chance to as Mateus bursts through the middle but Benatia stays strong to shepherd him off the ball.
No they cannot. Again it is fired straight into the first man. If Angola had put in a couple of decent crosses today then they may well have stood a chance of getting on the scoresheet a bit earlier.
Mounir El Hamdaoui
Youssef El Arabi
Credit to Amrabat for chasing back there but he gives away a free kick out wide with a needless tackle. Can Angola make anything of this one?
Morocco almost respond perfectly as Belhanda makes his first contribution, cutting inside from the left. He looks to curl a right-footed effort at goal but pulls his shot the wrong side of the post.
Manucho finally manages to get his head on the end of a set play but as he launches himself backwards, his connection lacks direction and the effort goes wide.
Lunguinha pushes forward down the right and switches play to Geraldo at the back post. The Brazilian-based player thumps a shot at goal but it is deflected behind for a corner.
Younes Belhanda has now entered the fray and Morocco will hope he can provide a spark of innovation to help move them ahead. With the Montpellier man, Assaidi, Amrabat and El Hamdaoui on the pitch, the Atlas Lions should be formidable in attack.
Stat attack: Angola have never beaten Morocco at full international level. In their last five meetings they have only managed one 2-2 draw, with the other four matches ending in defeat. However, they have beaten reigning champions Zambia in their build-up to the tournament so can harbour some hope of a win.
A comical mishit from Mateus there. The forward has not had much luck tonight, summised in a complete air-shot as he hopes to test Lamyaghri from distance.
Assaidi does brilliantly to turn his man wide on the left and drive in field. He attempts a simple pass across to El Ahmadi but he fails to predict the midfielders run and sees the ball intercepted. Things not flowing for either side at the moment.
Yellow Card Mehdi Benatia
Benatia goes through the back of Manucho with yet another poor challenge. The Morocco defence need to take more care in the tackle, it is a wonder that none of them have gone in the book yet.
Great turn from Hamdaoui, all on his own in the box, as he chests the ball towards the byeline before spinning his defender. He smashes a shot with his right boot but is unable to keep it down.
Miguel sends a hopeful ball up towards Manucho from inside his own half but it fails to find the Valladolid man as El Adoua gets his head on the ball.
Some decent defending there from Dany stops El Hamdaoui from making contact with Assaidi's cross at the back post. Again, a bright start to proceedings. Lets hope it does not fizzle out again this time.
That was without doubt the best opportunity of the match so far. Nevertheless, @kronaldo50 still believes this game is going to end 1-0 in favour of Angola. What do the rest of you make of that? Will pragmatic football pay off?
UNBELIEVABLY CLOSE!! A ball in from the left is not dealt with by Lamyaghri as he spills it at the feet of Guilherme. He looks certain to score a debut goal but his poked effort drops agonisingly wide of the goal. So close to the first goal of the tournament.
We are back under way at Soccer City! Guilherme has come on for Mingo Bille at half time, which one can only assume is down to an injury as the latter was impressive in the first half.
Welcome back! The teams are back out and the second half is just a few seconds away.
Send your comments and predictions to @thwebber during the break. Who do you think will come out on top? Well, @allinoti thinks that Angola's defensive stance could cost them and enable the Atlas Lions to come out on top. I'll share the best of the rest before the second half. See you in 10 minutes!
Well after a fascinating start that saw numerous efforts at goal, predominantly from Morocco, the game has somewhat died down. Assaidi has looked the most dangerous for the Atlas Lions, with Angola sitting deep but failing to pick him up. Nevertheless, it remains 0-0 at the break.
45' + 2'
The half-time whistle goes!
45' + 1'
Into the first, and only, minute of additional time.
Another surging run from Mingo Bille proves dangerous, winning his side another free kick in a dangerous area. Manucho stands over it and looks to curl the ball into the top corner but he fails to find the target. That is poor.
An aimless ball from Benatia gifts Angola the ball deep in their own half. Both sides will probably be happy to go in to half time with the match scoreless.
Another wasted free kick from Angola. Manucho just looks so isolated and has lacked service all evening.
Penalty claim for Angola! Mateus cuts inside of Benatia on the left of the area and goes down under minimal contact. The referee is right to ignore the calls of his team-mates, and it may well only have been a free kick on the edge of the box anyway.
The game has gone a bit flat now. The early life has drained away as Angola tried to stifle the Moroccans. A goal before half time would really set up a fantastic second half.
Angola try to play Lunguinha down the right flank but it does not quite reach him. Mingo Bille pounces on the loose ball but he fails to produce another strike like the one he mustered early in the first half, dragging his shot well wide of the goal.
Yellow Card Manucho
Mancuho earns a booking for a pretty diabolical tackle on Hermach. The striker was in mid-air as he collided with the defender and deservedly gets a yellow. That was clearly borne of frustration - he has barely seen the ball so far.
Amrabat seems to be more interested in attracting the attention of the medical staff tonight. He has already gone down with some minor injuries and has not influenced proceedings on the field at all yet.
Angola seem to be showing the same form that has seen them concede just once in their past six fixtures. That came in a 1-1 draw with Gambia, while they won the other five matches in that run.
As always, you can let me know your thoughts on tonight's match by sending a tweet to @thwebber. Do Morocco have enough about them to make a charge for their first title since 1976?
This one is a bit better but Mateus is adjudged to be offside from a hopeful ball after the free kick had run all the way through. We are still awaiting the first goal of AFCON 2013.
Morocco's defence are sitting awfully deep and have given away a number of very cheap free kicks. Angola need to step up the quality of their deliveries here.
Angola have taken the ball back now and are slowing the tempo to the match. They clearly hope this will sap the momentum that Morocco had built with a very impressive spell.
El Hamdaoui gets into the box on the left hand side but he lacks support and is swarmed upon by red shirts. He fires a shit at goal anyway but the attempt is blocked. In his efforts to win it back, he deflects a clearance behind the net for a goal kick.
Solid defending from Bastos. The defender shows great pace and strength to get between Amrabat and El Ahmadi's through-ball.
The delivery is not fantastic and Mateus has to stoop down to get his head on it. It enables the Moroccan defence to recover and after a bit of pinball they clear it away.
Benatia gives away a cheap foul 35 yards from goal as he goes through the back of Geraldo. Angola have surely got to look to get this on Manucho's head...
Rachid Taoussi's side are getting plenty of numbers back when they are not in possession. With Angola committing fewer men forwards, they are left isolated and Geraldo is the man who loses possession.
Just wide from El Ahmadi. The Atlas Lions are beginning to take control of this game now. The Aston Villa midfielder again gets a shot away from distance but a deflection sees it narrowly wide of the goal. Corner to Morocco.
Brilliant run from Assaidi, but the finish left a lot to be desired. The Liverpool man is picked out by El Ahmadi and he instantly runs at Lunguinha, cutting inside him with ease. He then breezes past Bastos but fires his shot well over the bar. A let-off for Angola.
Incidently, Angola have the only South American-based player in the tournament. Forward Geraldo represents Brazilian side Coritiba at club level, though he is currently out on loan at second-tier outfit Parana.
Well Lama is back on his feet and looks ready to deal with the corner. Uruguayan coach Gustavo Ferrin can breathe a sigh of relief as his first-choice keeper seems able to stay on the pitch.
Another top save from Lama! The keeper is forced to leap to his right in order to parry El Hamdaoui's brilliant 25-yard effort away from goal. He worries his team-mates by staying down injured though. Could that be more costly than beneficial?
Geraldo drifts inside and looks to feed Manucho as he tries to break past the defensive line. The striker cannot quite get the ball out from beneath his feet and the Morocco defence swiftly close down and win the ball.
The Atlas Lions fail to make anything of the set piece but there has already been more action than there was in the South Africa - Cape Verde game earlier!
GOOD SAVE!! There is a decent tempo to this match, with Assaidi already showing his pace wide on the left. He moves the ball infield and it eventually falls to El Ahmadi who stabs an unorthodox shot towards goal from 20 yards. It forces Lama to dive down to his right and turn it behind for the corner.
GREAT STRIKE!! Angola have settled into this one beautifully and are knocking the ball about well. Play is switched from left to right by Mateus and Mingo Bille picks it up out wide. He cuts inside and lashes a shot towards the bottom corner but Lamyaghri gets down and holds the attempt
We are under way! Morocco shooting from left to right in their alternate, white shirts. Angola wearing red shirts and black shorts.
The pre-match formalities are all but over now so kick off at Soccer City in Johannesburg is just a few moments away!
Younes Belhanda only makes the bench for Morocco tonight. The Montpellier man has been struggling for fitness, but he will certainly offer some quality from the bench in the second half.
Angola's goalkeeper Lama was overcome some late fitness doubts to start between the posts, while Manucho leads the line in attack. The former Manchester United striker is having a decent season at domestic level, with six goals in 13 appearances for Real Valladolid, including a double against Real Madrid. He will be eager to maintain that form for his country.
In case you were wondering where Premier League stars Marouane Chamakh and Adel Taarabt were for Morocco, coach Rachid Taoussi left them entirely out of squad! He cited a greater team dynamic as the reason behind his decision. It certainly adds an extra need for the Atlas Lions to perform tonight.
Morocco (4-3-3): Lamyaghri; Chakir, Benatia, El Adoua, El Kaoutari; Hermach, El Ahmadi, Barrada; Amrabat, El Hamdaoui, Assaidi.
Angola (4-3-3): Lama; Lunguinha, Dany Afonso, Mingo Bile, Bastos; Dede, Miguel, Pirolito; Mateus, Manucho, Geraldo.
The teams are in, we'll start with tonight's 'hosts', Angola.
The tournament got off to a low-key start earlier this afternoon, with hosts South Africa looking dire as could only muster a 0-0 draw with Cape Verde. That offers either Morocco or Angola the chance to end the opening day at the top of the group.
It is time to get your vuvuzelas out again! We are back in South Africa, this time for the 2013 African Cup of Nations. Tonight, for your viewing pleasure, we have Angola taking on Morocco in Group A. My name is Tom Webber and I will be guiding you through every kick.
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