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Morocco Player Ratings: Hakimi, En-Nesyri and Ziyech impress against Canada

2:13 AM SGT 2/12/22
Morocco players celebrate against Canada.
Chelsea winger Ziyech was at the centre of everything good going forward for the North Africans as they survived a second half onslaught from Canada.

Hakim Ziyech played a starring role against Canada as Morocco became the second African country to book their place in the knockout round of the 2022 World Cup.

Ziyech opened the scoring for the Atlas Lions and was at the centre of most attacks for the North Africans as they sealed a ticket to the round of 16 for the second time, having last achieved the feat in 1986.

There were also impressive performances from striker Youssef En-Nesyri who scored Morocco's second goal as well as captain Romain Saiss who was resolute in defence.

GOAL rates how the Atlas Lions players performed in their final group game.

  • Yassine Bounou Morocco.

    Yassine Bounou 7/10

    Returning to the side after a last-minute withdrawal against Belgium, the Sevilla goalkeeper had little to do in the first half. Then Canada had plenty of possession in the second stanza. Bounou could do little to stop Canada's goal from a Sam Adekugbe shot, an Nayef Aguerd own goal, but his positioning at the near post as the ball came in could have been better. He nearly gifted Canada an equaliser with three minutes remaining after failing to tightly hold onto the ball.

  • Achraf Hakimi

    Achraf Hakimi 8/10

    Doubtful before the game having missed training on Thursday, the Paris Saint-Germain full-back was good going forward.

    Hakimi constantly bombed forward to act as another attacking outlet and it was from his pin-point long pass that Youssef En-Nesyri scored Morocco's second goal.

    His forays higher up the pitch, however, left gaps that allowed Canada to close in on goal with Alphonso Davies getting opportunities to bring in crosses. He was beaten by Adekugbe before the Canada full-back got into plenty of space to slot in his team's lone goal.

  • Nayef Aguerd of Morocco.

    Nayef Aguerd 7.5/10

    The West Ham defender had a good game, winning a number of aerial duels as the Atlas Lions kept the Canadians at bay but it was not the same on the ground.

    Aguerd gifted Canada their goal after slotting it in his own net as he attempted to block Adekugbe's shot and nearly allowed Davies to score in the second half after failing to head away a Junior Hoilett cross.

  • Romain Saiss Morocco.

    Romain Saiss 9.5/10

    The Morocco captain showed great leadership with his performance and communication. The Besiktas defender rarely got a foot wrong, winning his duels both in the air and on the ground.

    His calmness in possession allowed Morocco to play out from the back while his passing was also impressive. Saiss was key to Morocco preserving their lead in the second half given the way he won his battles from set pieces when Canada brought in countless crosses.

  • Noussair Mazraoui Morocco.

    Noussair Mazraoui 8.5/10

    The Bayern Munich full-back was rarely troubled as much as his teammate on the right side. Mazraoui's decision not to bomb forward much ensured Morocco were not exposed on the left side especially with Sofiane Boufal tucking inside.

    He made several clearances and nearly set up Boufal to score but the Angers forward fluffed his lines.

  • Sofyan Amrabat Morocco.

    Sofyan Amrabat 9.5/10

    Impressive in midfield, Amrabat acted as an extra defender especially in the second half when Canada had more of the ball.

    The Fiorentina man was everywhere, mopping up in midfield and defence with his range of passing also impressive. Amrabat was walking a tight rope given he was a yellow card away from missing the round of 16 but stayed calm while avoiding tackles to see his side through.

  • Abdelhamid Sabiri  Morocco.

    Abdelhamid Sabiri 7/10

    Handed a start after his goal against Belgium, the Sampdoria midfielder rarely ventured forward on Thursday and opted to operate deep, offering cover whenever Amrabat pushed high.

    He, however, struggled with the tempo of the game late in the second half and was replaced in the 65th minute as Walid Regragui sought more control in midfield.

  • Azzedine Ounahi Morocco.

    Azzedine Ounahi 7.5/10

    The midfielder managed 77 minutes but did did not do as much as he would have been required. He failed to win any of his ground duels while managing four out of eight in the air.

    He was dribbled past twice as Canada threatened a comeback and his decision not to play forward passes early proved costly given the way he was dispossessed by Hoilett after the break, leading to a free-kick.

  • Hakim Ziyech scores against Canada.

    Hakim Ziyech 9.5/10

    Another impressive game for the Chelsea winger that yielded a goal and much more for Morocco going forward.

    Ziyech showed great intelligence to chip the ball over the goalkeeper who failed to clear the ball while way off his line for Morocco's opening goal, and supplied more for Boufal and En-Nesyri with only poor finishing preventing them from scoring.

    He thought he had created the third goal when his second half free-kick was slotted in by En-Nesyri but the goal was ruled out for offside.

  • Youssef En-Nesyri of Morocco after scoring against Canada.

    Youssef En-Nesyri 9/10

    The Sevilla striker struggled in front of goal in the first two games but came up trumps against Canada. En-Nesyri's movement was great as he played on the shoulders of the defenders and it is from such a position that he was able to shrug off the challenge of two centre-backs to score Morocco's second from a Hakimi pass.

    He had the ball in the net late in the second half after nodding in Ziyech's free-kick but the goal was chopped off for offside. The striker's work rate was also impressive given the way he constantly tracked back to help out defensively.

    En-Nesyri is now the first Moroccan player to score at two different World Cups.

  • Sofiane Boufal Morocco.

    Sofiane Boufal 7.5/10

    Boufal was not on target but still offered a lot to Morocco's attack. He shifted between the left wing and the box with his presence allowing Mazraoui space to create danger in wide areas.

    He, however, lost steam in the second half and was replaced by Zakaria Aboukhlal with 25 minutes remaining after managing one shot and two key passes.

  • Zakaria Aboukhlal of Morocco.

    Zakaria Aboukhlal 6/10

    The Toulouse forward came on for Boufal with 25 minutes to go but did not have much of an impact since Canada were on the attack at the time. He only made one key pass to Abderrazak Hamdallah but the striker wasted the opportunity.

  • Selim Amallah Morocco.

    Selim Amallah 5.5/10

    Introduced in the 65th minute in place of Sabiri, Amallah's job was to provide calmness in midfield and he acted as an extra body for the Atlas Lions as they kept their opponents at bay.

  • Jawad El Yamiq of Morocco.

    Jawad El Yamiq 6/10

    Brought on to stabilise the midfield with Canada threatening a comeback, the Valladolid defender helped out with two headed clearances which eased pressure as the game wore on.

  • Abderrazak Hamdallah of Morocco.

    Abderrazak Hamdallah 6/10

    The Al-Ittihad forward replaced Ziyech in the last 14 minutes, and could have ended the game with two goals were it not for poor decision making.

    He had a chance to score when through on goal in the final 10 minutes but he opted to slow down, allowing the defenders to close in, and also received a good pass in stoppage time but decided to pass rather than shoot.

  • Yahya Jabrane of Morocco heads away.

    Yahya Jabrane 6/10

    Came in for Hakimi five minutes from time but could not do much as Morocco were on the defence. He only had three touches of the ball before the final whistle.