23 January 2013

Cape Verde/Morocco: Cape Verde, Morocco Share the Spoils in Durban

Cape Verde and Morocco shared the spoils in their second 2013 Orange Africa Cup of Nations Group A match at the Moses Mabhida Stadium.

The match ended 1-1. The results mean that both sides will live to fight another day to qualify for the knockout stages of the Africa Cup of Nations. Both sides are on two points are two draws.

Cape Verde were 12 minutes away from achieving their historic first victory in the Africa Cup of Nations, but a combination of inexperience and defence slip-up allowed Morocco back in the game.

With just over 10 minutes to the final whistle, Morocco's Youssef El Arabi scored the equaliser that kept Morocco in the game -and also in the contest of the 2013 Orange Africa Cup of Nations. Abdelazi Barrada made an impressive run on the right flank and when he saw El Arabi making his run on the box, he fed the striker a perfect pass. The goal came as a sigh of relief for Morocco who had been besieged by the Cape Verdeans for the better part of the game.

In the first half, it was Cape Verde to who took the initiative to be offensive. Using quick build-ups and an organised midfield, they raided the Moroccan goal on several occasions but often could not profit from such disciplined football.

Morocco had their first chance of the game when Benatia unleashed a powerful low shot. Cape Verde keeper, Josimar Dias made a good save. Five minutes later, Cape Verde were awarded a free-kick on the edge of the box. Ryan Mendes curled the ball to the top left corner, but Morocco keeper, Nadir Lamyaghri was on call to make a stupendous save.

With less than 10 minutes before the interval, Cape Verde's persistence paid off when they scored the first goal of the match through Luis 'Platini' Soares. Soares had benefited from a crispy pass by Mendes who fed him with a through ball. Soares chipped the ball over Morocco keeper, Nadir Lamyaghri.

In the second half, Cape Verde continued with their attacking style. Instead of protecting their lead, they launched scathing runs using their flanks.

But Morocco responded well. They reorganised themselves and altered their game-plan in vital areas. Consequently, they started to reclaim lost possession as the match progressed.

Cape Verde, it must be said, have made an impression in this tournament.

After their goalless draw last Saturday at the National Stadium, South Africa coach, Gordon Igesund had noted that Cape Verde is a 'awkward' side to play again - awkward in the sense that they seldom give opposition room to roam. They play a compact game - the textbook football often employed by teams that value winning over flamboyance.

In their first group match against Angola, Morocco had been expressive and innovative. On Wednesday against Cape Verde, they seldom managed to put together their passes, and they eventually managed to do so, the Cape Verdeans defended with passion and unity

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