Morocco vs. Libya: Atlas Lions eye first final in Chan tournament

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The hosts have rewritten their record in the Chan tournament but will now face another stern test against the former champions

Morocco will be hoping to make their first-ever final when they lock horns with Libya in the semi-finals of the 2018 African Nations Championship in Casablanca on Wednesday.

The Atlas Lions were last minute replacement for Kenya whose preparations to host the tournament looked uninspiring which prompted Caf to quickly look for a new suitor.

However, coach Jamal Sellami's charges have not disappointed despite their late confirmation, and have displayed excellent footballing skills with great precision in all the four games played so far.

They have scored nine goals and conceded only a goal with Ayoub El Kaabi netting six of those goals in the process.

After sending a tricky Namibia side back home, thanks to a 2-0 victory in the quarterfinals on Saturday, a first major trophy in more than three decades appears to be in sight. But, Libya might not come that easy despite their mixed run in the tournament.

The Mediterranean Knights began the tournament with a win over Equatorial Guinea but were pegged back after a defeat to Nigeria and needed a late goal from Elmutasem Abushnaf, against Rwanda, to book their place in the quarterfinals.

Although, the 2014 champions struggled against Congo in the knockout stage, they were able to end the fairytale run of Barthelemy Gatsono's side with a 5-3 win on penalties after a 1-1 stalemate in extra time.

Morocco coach Sellami admits his charges will be under pressure but insists they will guide against mistakes in order to eliminate Libya.

“We encountered some difficulties against Namibia since they were a very well organised team. We could see the organisation was done in a professional manner but we came out on top. They played a good game and we scored at the right moments,” Sellami said.

"We will be under a little pressure since the game against Libya will be a bit different. They have enough experience than Namibia. They are former winners and would like to win again after coming very close this time.

"We're aware of the expectations so we will be very careful with our approach and decisions. I don’t want us to commit many mistakes which will prevent us the chance to be in the final," he added.

Morocco and Libya have met 11 times with the hosts winning on five occasions and losing twice, while four games have ended in a stalemate.

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The winner of this fixture will face the winner between Sudan and Nigeria in the final scheduled for February 4 in Casablanca.

 

 

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