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Preview: Gabon vs. Morocco - prediction, team news, lineups
18/01/2022 11:41:44

It is first versus second in Group C of the Africa Cup of Nations as Morocco square off against Gabon at the Ahmadou Ahidjo Stadium on Tuesday.

Morroco have secured their place in the knockout stages after winning their opening two games, while Les Pantheres need just a draw to progress.

We say: Gabon 1-1 Morocco

While Morocco head into the game in fine form, Gabon have been superb in the history of this fixture, losing just once in their last eight meetings. We predict they will cancel out the efforts of the Atlas Lions and force a share of the spoils to book their place in the knockout stages.

Match preview

Gabon put on a resilient performance as they showed great fighting spirit to come from behind and salvage a 1-1 draw with Ghana last Friday.

After Andre Ayew scored in the 18th minute to hand the Black Stars a 1-0 half-time lead, Patrice Neveu's men upped the ante after the interval with Jim Allevinah coming off the bench to force a share of the spoils with his 88th-minute strike.

This followed a hard-earned 1-0 victory over Comoros in their group curtain-raiser on Monday, when Aaron-Salem Boupendza scored the only goal of the game inside the opening 16 minutes.

With four points from two games, Gabon are currently second in Group C, three points ahead of third-placed Ghana and two behind Morocco, who have already sealed their place in the knockout stages.

Les Pantheres will feel confident about making it to the next phase of the tournament as they need just a draw against an opposing side who they are unbeaten against in all but one of their last eight encounters since 2009, claiming four wins and three draws in that time.

Morocco, on the other hand, maintained their 100% record at the Africa Cup of Nations as they eased to a 2-0 victory over Comoros last time out.

Selim Amallah broke the deadlock in the 16th minute to hand the Atlas Lions a first-half advantage, and after Youssef En-Nesyri failed to convert his 83rd-minute penalty, Zakaria Aboukhlal netted six minutes later to make sure of the result.

Prior to that, Vahid Halilhodzic's men saw off a dogged Ghana side 1-0 in their group curtain-raiser on Monday, when Sofiane Boufal broke the deadlock seven minutes away from time.

Morocco, who are seeking to pick up their second-ever AFCON title and a first since 1976, head into Tuesday's game on a blistering run of 14 wins from their last 15 games, with their Arab Cup final defeat against Algeria being the only exception.

Team News

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Mario Lemina and Axel Meye are all in contention to make their first appearance at the tournament after recently recovering from COVID-19.

Allevinah staked his claim for a starting role after coming off the bench to rescue a point for Les Pantheres with his 88th-minute strike against Ghana last time out.

Should the Clermont midfielder come into the XI, he should team up with 25-year-old Boupendza and Aubameyang at the attacking end of the pitch.

Meanwhile, after missing the opening game against Ghana through COVID-19, Ayoub El-Kaabi and En-Nesyri returned to the fold against Comoros last time out and we expect the duo to handle business at the attacking end of the pitch.

Amallah turned in a performance of the highest quality as he scored one and created the second in the victory over Comoros and the Standard Liege midfielder will be one to keep an eye out for.

In defence, we expect to see an unchanged back four of Achraf Hakimi, Romain Saiss, Nayef Aguerd and Adam Masina shielding Sevilla's Bono in goal.

Gabon possible starting lineup:

Amonome; Oyono, Manga, Obissa, Sambissa; Poko, Kanga, Autchanga; Allevinah, Boupendza, Aubameyang

Morocco possible starting lineup:

Bono; Hakimi, Saiss, Aguerd, Tissoudali; Mmaee; Boufal, Amallah, Tissoudali, Munir; En-Nesyri

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