News Matches

Canada v Morocco Live Commentary, 12/1/22

FT
1 - 2
CAN
MAR
N. Aguerd (40 og)
H. Ziyech (4)
Y. En-Nesyri (23)
Al Thumama Stadium

Commentary

That's all from a jubilant Al Thumama Stadium, where Morocco's fans celebrate their team's famous success, so thank you for joining us today and goodbye!
For all their endeavour, Canada equal El Salvador's record of losing all of their first six games at the World Cup finals. They must now turn their attentions to 2026, when the tournament will be held on home soil. Group F winners Morocco, meanwhile, march on!
Thanks to some clinical finishing and typically steadfast defending, Morocco win a second successive game at Qatar 2022 and reach the World Cup's knockout phase for the first time since 1986. Though they were forced back by an improved Canada side after the interval, the Atlas Lions top their group and become the second African nation to progress. They will now be paired up with a side from Group E, possibly Spain or Germany, and their fearless approach may make them an opponent to be wary of.
90' + 5' FULL-TIME: CANADA 1-2 MOROCCO
90' + 4' A heavy touch from Hamdallah just outside the area ends a promising Moroccan attack, in what is surely the final move of an absorbing game.
90' + 2' LUCKY ESCAPE! Borjan, up into the Morocco half from his position in goal, first sends a cross into the box, which is headed away. His subsequent miskick sets Morocco clear on the counter, but Davies' exceptional pace covers his blushes and the ball is cleared.
90' + 1' In the first of four added minutes, David finds himself crowded out inside a packed Morocco area. Then, Davies earns a corner off En-Nesyri.
89' Barring a late collapse, Morocco are heading into the last 16, but can they hang on to all three points here and top Group F? They are one of the best defensive sides in these finals, so will be confident of holding out.
87' A muddled moment from Bounou so nearly presents Davies with a simple chance to pull Canada level, as the goalkeeper opts to chest the ball down on the edge of his area and almost gives it away! He just about recovers in time, though, and Morocco escape.
Y. Jabrane
A. Hakimi
Morocco
85' Hakimi's job is done for today, as Jabrane comes on to replace the Paris Saint-Germain full-back for the final five minutes plus stoppage time.
S. Vitória
Yellow Card
Canada
84' Hamdallah goes down clutching his face, and Vitoria is booked for catching his opponent with a wayward forearm.
83' Following the corner, Hutchinson turns the ball well over the crossbar as another half-chance goes astray.
81' Under heavy pressure from Johnston at the back post, Mazraoui heads a dangerous dropping ball away for a corner - Canada's fifth of the game.
79' David and Johnston combine in the centre, almost setting up a shooting chance for Davies, but the Moroccan defence stands firm and the Atlas Lions break away on the counter. However, Hamdallah takes too long before getting a shot off and sees his attempt blocked on the edge of the box.
J. El Yamiq
A. Ounahi
Morocco
77' Ounahi is also replaced by Regragui, as El Yamiq now enters the fray.
A. Hamed Allah
H. Ziyech
Morocco
76' Ziyech's influence has faded since the break, so Hamdallah comes on in his place.
D. Wotherspoon
J. Hoilett
Canada
76' Despite a lively showing in the second half, Hoilett is taken off; Wotherspoon will make his World Cup debut.
74' Canada are totally on top now, as they seek a first-ever point at the World Cup finals. Their pressure is relentless, as Amrabat is forced to concede a corner by challenging Hoilett near the byline.
71' OFF THE BAR! So close to a Canada equaliser! A corner ensues from the free-kick, and from Hoilett's outswinging cross, captain Hutchinson thuds the ball against the crossbar from close range with a powerful header. It crashes down on the goal line, before Johnston narrowly heads the rebound over and onto the top of Bounou's net! What an escape for Morocco!
70' Buchanan wins a free-kick by skipping inside from the left into a central position 30 yards out, before popping the ball through Amrabat's legs and then being brought down.
68' From the back, Miller tries a long throughball down the right, but Hoilett is caught marginally offside.
R. Laryea
J. Osorio
Canada
65' Canada make a fourth substitution, as Osorio comes off and Laryea is brought on.
S. Amallah
A. Sabiri
Morocco
65' Amallah is introduced too; Sabiri makes way.
Z. Aboukhlal
S. Boufal
Morocco
65' Regragui also turns to his bench: first, Boufal is replaced by Aboukhlal.
63' Morocco remain resolute, as Canada continue to press for an equaliser. Their dominance is now established, but it's proving almost impossible to penetrate their opponents' rigid back line.
I. Koné
S. Adekugbe
Canada
61' Finally, young Kone comes on for Adekugbe.
J. David
C. Larin
Canada
60' A straight swap up front sees Larin making way for David.
A. Hutchinson
M. Kaye
Canada
60' Herdman is going for broke, as he makes a triple substitution with half an hour to go. First, Kaye is replaced by veteran skipper Hutchinson in midfield.
59' Having been felled by Amrabat's robust challenge, Hoilett stays down on the turf and the referee brings a halt to proceedings so the Canada winger can recover.
58' WIDE! Hoilett turns the ball across the area from the right, and with a shot on the stretch at waist-height, Davies prods the ball about a yard wide of Bounou's left-hand post!
57' After Hoilett wins a free-kick out on the right touchline, Davies' inswinging cross towards the back post scuds inexorably past the lurking Larin and behind for a goal-kick.
55' It's a far more offensive approach from Canada since half-time, which has caused Morocco some problems, and Ziyech gives away a free-kick midway through his own half when trying to halt Davies.
53' A long spell of Canadian possession ends when Davies misreads the play and gives away possession, then a crunching challenge apparently pops the ball, which has to be replaced.
51' Trying to reach Ziyech's throughball, Boufal is penalised for clipping Osorio from behind.
50' Adekugbe charges powerfully down the left flank towards the box, but Amrabat covers across to put in a well-timed tackle and end the chance of a Canadian attack.
48' With Amrabat as their midfield fulcrum, bouncing short passes back and forth, Morocco keep possession deep inside their own half as they seek to re-establish their rhythm after the break.
46' Canada kick off, and we are back under way at Al Thumama Stadium!
Not only is Aguerd's own goal the first of the 2022 World Cup, it's also the 100th goal at these finals so far.
Aided by some dubious Canadian defending, Morocco are within 45 minutes of the knockout stages, having had the better of the first half and taken their chances when presented with them. However, a momentary lapse by Aguerd gifted their opponents a route back into the game, so their one-goal advantage means there's still work to do after the interval. Canada have created little so far, with star man Davies among a muted forward line which has been subdued by the well-drilled Moroccan defence.
45' + 6' HALF-TIME: CANADA 1-2 MOROCCO
45' + 3' GOAL RULED OUT! Following Ziyech's inswinging cross from a free-kick on the right flank, the ball drops to En-Nesyri, who ruthlessly slots home what could have been Morocco's third goal - but a flag is raised for offside. It seems there was a player in the sight-line of the keeper when his shot was taken. After a brief dramatic pause, the VAR concurs and his second strike is chalked off!
S. Adekugbe
Yellow Card
Canada
45' + 2' A late lunge by Adekugbe brings Canada a third booking of the first half, after the wing-back fells Hakimi in midfield.
45' + 1' The officials have indicated a minimum of five minutes stoppage time at the end of the first half.
44' A brief scare for Morocco sees Bounou forced to scramble across goal to collect an awkward back-pass along the six-yard box from Aguerd.
42' Despite scoring to reduce their arrears to one - via Aguerd's own goal - Canada have still not had a single shot on target so far in this game.
N. Aguerd
Own Goal
Morocco
40' CANADA STRIKE BACK! After Adekugbe advances on the left, the wing-back zips a dangerous low ball across the box, which Aguerd can only turn past a bemused Bounou at his near post! The goalkeeper got a glove on it, but was unable to stop the ball crossing the line! Having finally found their way into the match, Canada now have tangible reward - it's back to 1-2!
38' Canada's pressing has Morocco penned in, but the building pressure is relieved when Vitoria is penalised for a foul in an aerial challenge with En-Nesyri, who is back on defensive duty.
36' With the problem resolved, the action resumes. Hoilett loses the ball by running up a blind alley on the right-hand side.
35' A technical issue with one of the officials' equipment means the game must be halted; both coaches take the chance to pass on words of wisdom to their players.
33' As is his remit, Amrabat is dropping very deep to support his back four now, and his involvement sets up a counter-attack in which Sabiri sees a low shot blocked out by Johnston, just inside the Canadian area.
31' With Canada now pressing forward, Morocco mount a counter-attack, but Ounahi's throughball finds En-Nesyri offside.
29' As things stand, Morocco - still having most of the ball in Al Thumama - are sitting two points clear at the top of Group F, and they are within touching distance of finishing in first place.
J. Osorio
Yellow Card
Canada
26' Osorio is the second Canada player to see yellow today, as he is booked for a foul on Sabiri in midfield.
25' En-Nesyri has now scored at his second World Cup finals - the first Moroccan player ever to do so.
A. Hakimi
Assist
Morocco
23' A simple inswinging ball down the right channel by Hakimi is perfectly measured for En-Nesyri to connect with, leading to Morocco's second goal.
Y. En-Nesyri
Goal
Morocco
23' MOROCCO HAVE TWO! A simple throughball down the right flank by Hakimi somehow catches the Canadian defence flat-footed, and En-Nesyri doesn't miss a beat. Racing onto the ball past Miller, the quick-witted then fires it into the net past Borjan at the near post! Canada 0-2 Morocco, and the Atlas Lions have one foot in the last 16!
21' Hoilett and Larin are both willing runners, closing the ball down frequently as Morocco try to play out patiently from their own area, but both have been starved of service so far today.
19' After a spell of dominance, Morocco have retreated a few yards closer to their own goal; sitting deep as Canada attempt to build from the back. As the North American side keep giving the ball away, their African counterparts can afford to do so.
18' Already ahead today, Morocco have never lost in three previous meetings with Canada (W2 D1) - most recently a 4-0 friendly win in October 2016.
16' Ziyech takes the ball down with a feather-like touch from a high throughball, but then fires well off target with his wayward attempt on goal.
14' Boufal earns a corner by outwitting Johnston on the left flank, and Morocco take it short. However, they immediately concede possession and Larin strides clear on the counter, before crossing low to the back post for Buchanan. He can't quite reach it, though, and the ball harmlessly clips his outstretched boot and rolls away.
12' Canada attempt to retain some possession, as they search for a foothold in the game, but simply can't retain the ball for long enough to build any momentum.
10' Borjan just manages to punch the ball sufficiently clear inside his six-yard box, as Morocco continue to apply early pressure. Another goal would put them well and truly in the driving seat regarding qualification from Group F.
9' The game resumes with Morocco's free-kick from 30 yards, which Vitoria blocks on the edge of the box with his forehead; leaving him looking a little dazed.
8' The action is temporarily halted as Ounahi recovers from Hoilett's foul midway through the Canada half.
J. Hoilett
Yellow Card
Canada
7' A clumsy late challenge on Ounahi sees Hoilett receive the game's first booking from the referee.
6' Not only have Morocco have avoided defeat in their last five matches when scoring the opening goal in a World Cup game, dating back to 1970, they have also kept a clean sheet in each of their last six matches - going more than 600 minutes without conceding.
H. Ziyech
Goal
Morocco
4' MOROCCO LEAD! Taking advantage of a terrible mix-up in the Canada defence, Ziyech latches on to a loose ball on the edge of the area and deftly lofts the ball over Borjan, who is wildly out of position having just given possession away! What a gift for the Atlas Lions, who roar into an early lead: 1-0 to Morocco!
3' Davies, who has started on the right today, charges into the area but sees his progress blocked by a white wall of defenders. After he checks back and lays the ball off, a low shot is blocked and Morocco clear their lines.
1' Clad all in white, Morocco kick off, and we are under way!
Amid a cacophonous atmosphere inside Al Thumama Stadium, both sets of players are out on the pitch - and with both national anthems having been observed, kick-off is now just moments way!
Morocco goalkeeper Bounou, who was born in Canada, withdrew from the game against Belgium just before kick-off, to be replaced by Munir; however, he is well enough to return today. Hakimi is also fit to start, so Regragui's only other change sees Sampdoria's Sabiri usurping Amallah in midfield.
Following his side's defeat to Croatia, John Herdman makes four changes to Canada's starting XI today, with experienced captain Hutchinson and centre-forward David among those demoted to the bench. Hoilett, Osorio, Kaye and Adekugbe all come into the lineup, and the Maple Leafs seem set to switch to a three-man defence. Meanwhile, goalkeeper Borjan dons the armband as stand-in skipper.
SUBS: Munir Mohamedi, Ahmed Reda Tagnaouti, Abderazak Hamdallah, Anass Zaroury, Ilias Chair, Zakaria Aboukhlal, Selim Amallah, Abdessamad Ezzalzouli, Jawad El Yamiq, Achraf Dari, Walid Cheddira, Bilal El Khannous, Badr Banoun, Yahia Attiyat Allah, Yahya Jabrane.
MOROCCO (4-3-3): Yassine Bounou; Achraf Hakimi, Naif Aguerd, Romain Saiss, Noussair Mazraoui; Azz-Eddine Ounahi, Sofyan Amrabat, Abdelhamid Sabiri; Hakim Ziyech, Youssef En-Nesyri, Sofiane Boufal.
SUBS: Dayne St. Clair, James Pantemis, Samuel Piette, Liam Fraser, Lucas Cavallini, Ike Ugbo, Atiba Hutchinson, Ismael Kone, Jonathan David, Richie Laryea, Liam Millar, David Wotherspoon, Derek Cornelius, Joel Waterman.
CANADA (3-4-3): Milan Borjan; Alistair Johnston, Steven Vitoria, Kamal Miller; Sam Adekugbe, Jonathan Osorio, Mark-Anthony Kaye, Alphonso Davies; Tajon Buchanan, Cyle Larin, Junior Hoilett.
Morocco seek to reach the knockout stages of a World Cup for just the second time, and start today's game level on points with Group F leaders Croatia. Therefore, the Atlas Lions know that a win or draw will see them progress regardless of what happens in the concurrent Croatia v Belgium fixture. After a goalless draw in their opening match, last time out Zakaria Aboukhlal's late goal secured a famous 2-0 win over the Belgians for Walid Regragui's side - several of whom were born or brought up in the European nation.
Ahead of their Qatar 2022 swansong, Canada are already eliminated, having been beaten 4-1 by Croatia on Sunday. Though they at last scored a first-ever World Cup goal, as at the fifth attempt they finally broke their duck, Alphonso Davies' strike saw them become just the second nation after hosts Qatar to see hopes of progress ended. Now, the Maple Leafs aim to avoid finishing without a single point again, as they did on their only previous finals appearance in 1986.
Hello and welcome to live coverage of today's World Cup Group F encounter between Canada and Morocco at Al Thumama Stadium!