Morocco 2-0 Namibia: Hosts dispatch Namibia to make CHAN semis

The Atlas Lions are on course to lift their first CHAN title after accounting for the Brave Warriors in Casablanca

Morocco have booked a place in the last four of the 2018 African Nations Championship following a 2-0 victory over Namibia on Saturday.

Ayoub El Kaabi and Salaheddine Saidi netted to seal the win for the hosts in the quarter-final fixture at Stade Mohamed V, Casablanca.

It was Morocco all the way from the blast of the referee’s whistle, although Namibia had their fair share of chances, but the Atlas Lions had more.

Achraf Bencharki had the first chance at goal with a wide shot, before captain Badr Benoun saw his header tipped away by goalkeeper Loyd Kazapua.

Benoun had a second chance to make amends but his header from Bencharki’s free-kick went off target in the 29th minute.

Absalom Iimbondi responded for Namibia six minutes later with a long-rage shot, his side having struggled to create clear-cut chances, but the No.11’s effort only just flew into the arms of goalkeeper Anas Zniti.

Morocco went knocking again on 36 minutes, and this time, they would not be denied.

With the Namibian defence caught sleeping, Walid El Karti picked out El Kaabi from a free-kick, and the RS Berkane striker made no mistake with his effort to put his side 1-0 up.

Back from recess, El Kaabi went close again after picking up a loose ball in the box, but his shot flew over the bar.

Two minutes later, the No.9 was presented with another scoring opportunity when Mohammed Nahiri delivered a cross into the box, but the centre-forward headed over.

In the 54th minute, El Kaabi almost made it 2-0 after flicking the ball past goalkeeper Kazapua but the Namibian defence reacted fast to clear the ball off the goal-line for a corner.

The danger, though, was not cleared.

Bencharki’s cross from the resultant corner was powerfully met in the air by Salaheddine Saidi, who rose high to head home the second goal.

Article continues below

Moments later, Namibia looked to have halved the deficit when Itamunua Keimuine headed a free-kick into the net. Malian referee Mahamadou Keita, however, ruled out the goal for a foul on Abdeljalil Jbira.

The home side almost made it 3-0 12 minutes to full-time but Mohammed Nahiri’s free-kick struck the post.

The Atlas Lions, by the victory, await the winners of Sunday’s tie between Congo and Libya for a semi-final date on Wednesday.