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Jan 14, 2022 at 4pm UK
Amallah (16'), Aboukhlal (89')
Amallah (41'), Hakimi (42')
FT(HT: 1-0)

Selemani (16'), M'Changama (18')

Preview: Morocco vs. Comoros - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Morocco vs. Comoros - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Friday's Africa Cup of Nations clash between Morocco and Comoros, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Fresh off the back of an opening-day win over fellow group favourites Ghana, Morocco take on Comoros at the Ahmadou Ahidjo Stadium in Group B of the Africa Cup of Nations on Friday.

The Coelacanths, who are currently 132nd in the current FIFA World Rankings, risk an early exit from the tournament as they face the daunting task of taking on an opposing side who are ranked 28th in the world and second in Africa.

Match preview

Morocco kicked off their quest for a third Africa Cup of Nations title on the front foot as they saw off a resilient Ghana side 1-0 last Monday.

After struggling to break down the Black Stars' defence for most of the game, former Southampton man Sofiane Boufal came up trumps as he broke the deadlock with seven minutes left to play.

Prior to that, Vahid Halilhodzic's men were last in action on December 11, when they suffered a quarter-final exit from the Arab Cup after losing on penalties to eventual winners Algeria.

The Atlas Lions, who secured smooth passage into Cameroon through a superb qualifying run where they picked up 14 points from six games, are currently top of Group C, level on points with Gabon, who edged out Comoros 1-0 in the other group fixture.

Thursday's game will be the third-ever meeting between the two sides, with Morocco picking up one win and one draw when they meet in Group B of the 2019 AFCON qualifiers.

Meanwhile, Amir Abdou's Comoros marked their first-ever appearance at the Africa Cup of Nations with a defeat as they were beaten 1-0 by Gabon last Monday.

In a cagey affair at the Ahmadou Ahidjo Stadium, 25-year-old midfielder Aaron-Salem Boupendza netted in the 16th minute to hand Les Pantheres a vital opening-day victory.

Comoros, who finished runners-up to Egypt in Group G of the qualifiers, now risk an early exit from the tournament proper as they are currently bottom of the pile, alongside Ghana.

While they will be seeking to keep their chances of making it out of the group stages alive, the Coelacanths head into Thursday's game in poor form, managing just one win from their most recent six games in all competitions.

Morocco Africa Cup of Nations form:
  • W

Morocco form (all competitions):
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • W

Comoros Africa Cup of Nations form:
  • L

Comoros form (all competitions):
  • W
  • D
  • L
  • L
  • W
  • L

Team News

Morocco's duo of Aymen Barkok and Ayoub El-Kaabi are major doubts for Thursday's game after recently testing positive for COVID-19.

Following his side's dominant opening-day display against Ghana, Halilhodzic could name a similar side on Friday, meaning we could see Sevilla's Bono in goal with Romain Saiss and Nayef Aguerd starting at the heart of the defence.

Further up the pitch, Ferencvaros midfielder Samy Mmaee should retain his place as the lone defensive midfielder after his impressive performance, with Selim Amallah and Tarik Tissoudali in more attacking positions.

In the absence of Sevilla forward Youssef En-Nesyri, who sustained a light knee problem, Sofiane Boufal came up trumps for the Atlas Lions when he scored the winner against the Black Stars, and with two goals in his last four games, the Angers man will definitely be one to keep an eye out for.

Meanwhile, 25-year-old defender Kassim M'Dahoma is a doubt for Comoros after hobbling off the pitch with a 76th minute injury against Gabon.

Red Star Belgrade forward El Fardou Ben, who is currently the nation's top scorer with 15 goals in 28 appearances, has now failed to find the back of the net in six games for club and country and will be looking to end this dry spell.

Morocco possible starting lineup:
Bono; Hakimi, Saiss, Aguerd, Tissoudali; Mmaee; Boufal, Amallah, Tissoudali, Munir; Aboukhlal

Comoros possible starting lineup:
Ahamada; Abdallah, Abdou, Zahary, Bakari; Youssouf, Mohamed, Abdullah, Selemani; M'Changama, Ben

We say: Morocco 2-0 Comoros

After grinding out a narrow win over Ghana, Morocco will head into the game with an extra confidence and in sky-high spirits. They take on a significantly inferior side, and considering the gulf in quality and experience between the two squads, we are tipping the Atlas Lions to cruise to all three points.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting under 3.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 3.5:data

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