Egypt faces Morocco in the African Cup of Nations quarterfinals. The match will be played on Sunday, January 30th at Stade d’Olembé (Yaoundé)
The national team of Egypt started the tournament in Group D. The Pharaohs advanced to the playoffs from second place. They lost to Nigeria in the opening match (0-1) and then coped with Guinea Bissau (1-0) and Sudan (1-0). In the 1/8 finals, the Egyptians received a difficult opponent — the national team of Côte d’Ivoire, which was considered the favorite of the confrontation. In the match in Douala (Cameroon) on January 26, the teams did not score goals in regulation and extra time, although they created several dangerous chances each. And the Pharaohs were more accurate than their opponents in the penalty shootout (5-4).
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Morocco started the fight for the trophy in Group C. The Atlas Lions won their group, earning seven points in matches against Ghana (1-0), Comoros (2-0), and Gabon (2-2). In the 1/8 finals, the Moroccans faced the Malawi national team, which is one of the weakest teams in the tournament. On January 25, the players of Halilhodzic beat this opponent with a score of 2-1. Curiously, the favorites of that match were losing for almost the entire 1st half. But they equalized before the break thanks to the efforts of Youssef En-Nesyri, and Ashraf Hakimi scored the winning goal in the 2nd half.
In recent years, the national teams of Egypt and Morocco have crossed paths three times. In January 2017, the Pharaohs defeated the Moroccans in the quarterfinals of the African Cup in Gabon (1-0), and a few months later these opponents met in the final of the African Championship of Nations. The Atlas Lions were stronger in that two-legged confrontation: after a draw in the 1st game (1-1), they defeated the Egyptians with a score of 3-1. It is highly likely that the upcoming match with the participation of Egypt will be the 1st in the tournament to please the fans with more than one goal scored. The Pharaohs and the Ivorians didn’t score a single goal, but the score does not reflect the open football that the teams showed. In the match against Morocco, which conceded even from Malawi, Salah and company will have chances to leave their names on the scoreboard. However, the Atlas Lions, who organized five goals in the last three matches, will also be able to score if they adjust their sights.