2022 World semi-finalists Morocco thrashed a 10-man Tanzania, 3-0 in their opening match in San Pedro as they kicked off their Group F campaign on Wednesday.
Roman Saiss broke the deadlock early in the first half, as Hakim Ziyech’s lofted free kick was parried infield by Tanzania keeper, Aisha Manula with the captain on-sight to poke the ball into an empty net.
The Atlas Lions went into the break with a slender lead, which meant Taifa Stars had all to play for in the second half.
Their hopes would be dealt a major blow, as 20 minutes left on the clock Novatus Miroshi was adjudged to have fouled Azzedine Ounahi. He would receive his second yellow card of the match, hence his matching orders.
Despite replays showing Miroshi trying to pull out of the challenge, the referee felt it warranted a yellow, reducing the Taifa Stars to ten men.
This would be an uphill battle for the East African side who despite their best efforts to stay in the game, got undone by brilliant footwork from Ounahi, who played one-two football with striker En Neysri to slot past Manula for Morocco’s second.
En-Neysri would round up the scoring for the North-African side, as he fired a low cross past a hapless Manula, to ensure Morocco secured all three points from their opening match.
Morocco, who have been a juggernaut on the football stage for years will be looking to replicate their brilliant performances that saw them reach the semi-finals of World Cup despite having won the African Cup of Nations just once in their history back in 1976.
Morocco set their sights on Zambia, as Tanzania will be hoping for their first win of the tournament against DR Congo.