Confronting a challenging Tanzanian team, Morocco effectively initiated their Africa Cup of Nations campaign by triumphing over their initial Group F opponent (3-0) in San-Pédro, Ivory Coast, despite being heavily favored on paper. The semi-finalists from the previous World Cup encountered difficulties against the tournament’s lowest-ranked team (121st in the FIFA rankings). The breakthrough moment occurred with captain Romain Saïss (30th minute), strategically positioned to convert a free-kick delivered by Hakim Ziyech.

Azzedine Ounahi, buteur face à la Tanzanie. AP - Themba Hadebe

The subsequent half proved to be tumultuous, marked by the pivotal expulsion of Novatus Miroshi (70th minute), who was culpable of several risky tackles throughout the match, mirroring the actions of his teammates. Reduced to 10 players, Coach Adel Amrouche’s team confronted the offensive onslaught from Morocco, including a goal from Marseille’s Azzedine Ounahi (77th minute), confidently extending the lead into the net guarded by Tanzanian goalkeeper Aishi Manula.

Despite a sequence of saves from the Taifa Stars’ goalkeeper, it was insufficient to satiate the goal hunger of the Lions of the Atlas. Morocco’s striker, Youssef En-Nesyri, also contributed with a goal, courtesy of an impeccable assist from Parisian Achraf Hakimi (80th minute). This secured the victory for tactician Walid Regragui, making the FC Seville player the sole Moroccan to score in four different Africa Cup of Nations.

Leading Group F, the Lions of the Atlas have initiated the competition in optimal fashion, intensifying the challenges for the Tanzanians, who, like Morocco, must confront Zambia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to secure a place in the round of 16. Having reached this stage in the past three editions, the Moroccans aspire to surpass their previous achievements, positioning themselves as favorites in the competition.