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SA U17 Start Afcon With Defeat To Morocco

The South African U17 team began their U17 Africa Cup of Nations campaign with a disappointing 2-0 loss against Morocco at the Stade Mohamed-Hamlaou on Sunday night.

It was the first game for both nations at this year’s finals who are in a group alongside Nigeria and Zambia. Earlier in the day the Nigerians had a narrow 1-0 win, thanks to a late goal from Favor Daniel.

It was a bright start to the game for Duncan Crowie’s side. South Africa’s danger man, Siyabonga Mabena had his first chance in the seventh minute, but his first-time volley flew high and wide. Not long after Dhakier Lee shot straight at Moroccan goalkeeper Tahar Benrhozil, while Mabena went just wide a minute later.

There were chances at the other end too, but Moroccan captain Abdelhamid Ait Boudial’s attempted bicycle kick never troubled Kyle Jansen. Three minutes later Jansen was called into action to save Zakaria Allaoui’s goal-bound header.

Jansen was needed again on the half-hour mark to deny Abdel Hamid Maali’s cross-come-shot that threatened to sneak into the top right corner.

Mabena went on a mazy run in the 33rd minute, dribbling past two defenders and into the box, but couldn’t find a teammate with his cut back. Mabena set up Bennet Mokoena two minutes later, but Mokoena couldn’t get any power on his shot.

But there were not too many clear-cut opportunities and when the half-time whistle blew in Constantine, it remained goalless.

While the teams upped the tempo in the second half, there weren’t too many chances early on. Time and time again, there were good build-ups, but the teams were let down with the final delivery.

A very harsh penalty was awarded to Morocco in the 71st minute, when a cross hit South Africa’s captain Benjamin Wallis on the thigh, before the ball appeared to brush his arm. Ait Boudial stepped up to make it 1-0.

It got worse in the 83rd minute as a defensive mix-up between Jansen and Tyler Cicero led to substitute Adam Hanin doubling the score, tapping in the loose ball as the goalkeeper and defender collided.

A disappointing start for the Amajimbos team, who will look to bounce back against Zambia on Wednesday, as a win there will put them in good stead to still qualify for the last eight. They will finish the group against Nigeria next weekend.

How they lined up:

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Morocco XI: Benrhozil, Zahouani, Ait Boudial, Bakhty, El Idrissi, Boufandar, Chakir, Maali, Allaoui, Bougaizane, Ennair

South Africa XI: Jansen, Cicero, Lesia, Renecke, Wallis, Tshaka, Kekana, Dokunmu, Lee, Mokoena, Mabena

iDiski Times
iDiski Times
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