Morocco moved back to the top of Group E in the qualifiers for the 2021 Total Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifiers with a 4-1 victory over Central Africa Republic in Casablanca on Saturday.
Hakim Ziyech was the toast of the home side, scoring twice and assisting once as the Atlas Lions moved to seven points from three matches, edging out Mauritania who drop to second. Achraf Hakimi and debutant Zakaria Aboukhlal scored the other two goals.
Morocco were in crisp control from the first minute and their early dominance bore a goal after 10 minutes, Hakimi hitting the back of the net with a simple finish from inside the box after being played through by a super Ziyech through pass.
But CAR drew level in the 24th minute against the run of play when Mafouta shot into an empty net after racing on to a long ball before beating the keeper to have the goalmouth all to himself.
🏁 FULL TIME
A strong display from the #AtlasLions🦁 and a precious victory to snatch a total of 7 points, while having 3 games in hand👊#MORCAR 4️⃣-1️⃣#QCAN2021⚽ #MORCAR🇲🇦🇨🇫 #DimaMaghrib💚🇲🇦❤️ pic.twitter.com/gmVei3BC9w
— FRMF (@FRMFOFFICIEL) November 13, 2020
But the joy of an equalizer was short lived as Morocco got back into the lead on the half hour mark, Ziyech scoring from the penalty spot after Yousse el Arabi was brought down inside the box by Dyllan Ngallot.
The Atlas Lions were 3-1 up just three minutes later. A short training ground routine corner saw Hakimi tee up Ziyech whose low shot into the box evaded a forest of legs and into the bottom left corner.
In the second half, the Moroccans continued their dominance and they were 4-1 up in the 63rd minute when Aboukhlal who had just come on for his debut replacing Hakimi tapped into an empty net when he was picked out by a decent cross from Aymane Barkok.
The Moroccans dominated the final bits of play with Central Africa Republic struggling to create any chances.