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WC Qualification Africa

  • June 9, 2012
  • • 21:00
  • • Stade de Marrakech, Marrakech
  • Referee: Ghead Grisha
  • • Attendance: 36000
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Morocco – Cote d’Ivoire Preview: Group C favourites to lock horn for supremacy

Morocco – Cote d’Ivoire Preview: Group C favourites to lock horn for supremacy

Panoramic

The Atlas Lions will endeavour to dominate the Elephants, but if they fail, their visitors will keep a stranglehold on the group and brighten their chances of qualification

  PROBABLE LINEUPS


MOROCCO

Lamyaghri
Basser, Benatia, Zekroumi, Boukhriss
Saidi, El Ahmadi
Amrabat, Boussoufa, Barrada
El Arabi


COTE D'IVOIRE

Copa
Kolo, Gosso, Souleman, Tiene
Gradel, Bony, Tiote, Yaya
Drogba, Gervinho

Morocco are yet to get over their 1-1 draw against Gambia recorded last weekend in Bakau. The country’s sports minister has given firm instructions to coach Eric Gerets to make amends for the team’s unsatisfactory outing by defeating Cote d’Ivoire on Saturday in Marrakech.

However, with the Atlas Lions’ new playmaker, 22-year-old Younes Belhanda of Montpellier, set to miss the clash following an injury he picked up in the previous fixture, Gerets needs to be creative enough to get a subtle balance which should also cover the absence of other key players earlier dropped from the original roster, such as Arsenal’s Marouane Chamakh, Youssouf Hadji and Adel Taarabt.

The team was able to cope against Gambia without the services of Chretien Basser, Karmi El Ahmadi, Oussama Assaidi, who were rested due to injuries, but playing against the continent’s number one team probably needs a full house. However, the Belgian coach counts on the high motivation of his players, which he says will be enough to engage the Ivorians.

Cote d’Ivoire are currently leading Group C with three points and are very keen on consolidating that status with the hope of smoothing their path towards the Brazil 2014. New coach Sabri Lamouchi, who received mixed reviews after his 2-0 win over Tanzania in Abidjan, wants to confirm his competence and convince fans and officials he can do the job amid much doubt from many analysts.

With the African Footballer of the Year, Yaya Toure, likely to make his return against Morocco, the Elephants seem to be all set for the meeting, but the team evinced some weaknesses while playing the Taifa Stars, especially in the midfield and defence, which the Atlas Lions could exploit decisively.

  DID YOU KNOW?
  • Morocco and Cote d’Ivoire met last in 2006 during the Africa Cup of Nations held in Egypt. The Ivorians won 1-0.

  • Morocco were beaten at home in Marrakech last November by Uganda, 1-0 and Cameroon, 2-4 on penalties.

  • Morocco lost 10 points in the current Fifa ranking to land at 70th position.

  • Cote D’Ivoire fans are accusing captain Didier Drogba of being responsible for the sacking of former coach Francois Zahoui, but the player has said he knew nothing about it.

  • The Elephants' new coach Sabri Lamouchi will be paid €60,000 per month, two times as much as what Zahoui was earning.

  • The Ivorian team arrived in Marrakech on Wednesday ahead of Saturday’s encounter.

Related

Field Report
Reader's Predictions
Top 3 Predictions
Head to Head
World Cup Qualifying - Africa ‎(WCQ)‎ Sep 7, 2013 Cote d'Ivoire 1 - Morocco 1
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World Cup Qualifying - Africa ‎(WCQ)‎ Jun 9, 2012 Morocco 2 - Cote d'Ivoire 2
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Last Five Matches
Odds
Team News
Available Squads
Players to Watch
Adel Taarabt
Adel Taarabt
Position:
Squad Number: 0
Games Goals YC RC
0 0 0 0
Taraabt is a creative force for the Atlas Lions, and he is the man to watch out for if the Elephants are to keep Morocco from scoring at home.
Didier Drogba
Didier Drogba
Position: Striker
Squad Number: 11
Games Goals YC RC
5 3 0 0
The striker continues to be the most prolific attacking influence for the Elephants, and he will aim to continue scoring with the 2014 World Cup in mind.
Prediction
This match between two strong opponents will be an interesting one, but the Elephants should carry the day.
Editor's Prediction

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