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Africa Cup of Nations

Afcon 2019: Morocco coach Renard takes responsibility for Benin defeat

00:56 GMT+3 06/07/2019
Morocco's head coach Herve Renard.
The Atlas Lions' boss shares his thoughts on Friday's disappointing exit from the continental fiesta

Morocco coach Herve Renard is not singling out any member of his team for blame following their shocking Round of 16 loss to Benin at the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) on Friday.

The 1976 champions saw their hopes of lifting a second continental title dashed by The Squirrels who emerged 4-1 winners in the penalty shootout following a 1-1 draw after extra-time.

The North African Africans missed a penalty on the stroke of full-time through Hakim Ziyech and also played the last 23 minutes of the game with a numerical advantage following the sending off of Benin's Khaled Adenon.

"I will like to congratulate Benin for their win. They played according to a specific strategy and it worked," Renard said at the post-match press conference.

"We did not find any solutions. We could have won but we failed.

"We had high expectations but still had difficulties against those who adopted a defensive style.

"I am responsible for this defeat. I will like to protect my players and I won't say anything against them even though they did not perform well. I think all the players did their best and I cannot blame them.

"I will like to thank all the fans who came to Egypt to support their team and I feel embarrassed for them."

After a barren first-half, Moise Adilehou broke the deadlock for Benin at Al-Salam Stadium before Youssef En-Nesyri levelled the score for Morocco on 75 minutes.

"I have been in Morocco for three and a half years, but now we have to go home and think about the future," Renard, who won Afcon with Zambia and Cameroon in 2012 and 2015 respectively, added.

"I thank the fans for their support since the first day."

Morocco have not won a knockout stage game at Afcon since a 4-0 semi-final victory over Mali in 2004.