Liberia look to upset Morocco

0
1167
Liberia look to upset Morocco

Morocco players warming up

<!–

Liberia look to upset Morocco

–>

by Graeme Jackson

Sunday Jun 12, 2022. 13:00

Liberia will look to upset Morocco when the teams meet in a 2023 Africa Cup of Nations Group A qualifier at Stade Mohamed V in Casablanca on Monday 13 June, kick-off at 21:00 CAT.

Morocco got their qualification campaign off to a good start by defeating South Africa 2-1 in Rabat last Thursday, and a victory in this clash would put them on the cusp of qualification in a three-team group.

The Atlas Lions trailed to an early goal from Bafana Bafana’s Lyle Foster, but equalised via Youssef En-Nesyri and secured the victory thanks to a late strike from Ayoub El Kaabi.

“The boys played well but failed in the achievement by missing a lot of chances. But we must still congratulate them for their combativeness, their will and for their quality of play,” said coach Vahid Halilhodzic.

“Now, we must rest and treat the little [injuries] before preparing for the match against Liberia.

“And of course, I’m waiting for another victory… a second and we’ll almost be qualified for the next AFCON.”

Liberia, who were not in action last week due to Zimbabwe’s disqualification from Group K, have qualified for the AFCON just twice: 1996 and 2002.

Their attempt to reach the 2021 finals saw them exit in the preliminary round after losing on penalties to Chad (after a 1-1 aggregate draw).

The Lone Star come into the clash on the back of three friendly defeats (at the hands of Benin, Sierra Leone and Burundi) in March, but former player Anthony Laffor believes they should not be underestimated.

“People must not think it is going to be an easy run against Liberia, you underestimate us at your peril,” said Laffor. “It is not going to be an easy run for any country against us because this generation of players is determined and want to make a mark for the national team.

“We have a coach in Peter Butler who has been with the team for about two years now and he is trying to rebuild the national team. I think this time it is going to be different with the level of professionalism that the coach has brought in.”

In head-to-head stats, Liberia and Morocco have met in three matches dating back as far as 1981. The Atlas Lions boast two wins compared to one for the Lone Star. The teams’ most recent meeting was a friendly in July 1987 which Liberia won 2-1 in Monrovia.

Niger referee Mohamed Moussa will take charge of the match in Casablanca.