Sports Mole previews Thursday’s Africa Cup of Nations qualifying clash between Morocco and South Africa, including predictions, team news and possible line-ups.
Morocco and South Africa kick off their respective qualifying campaigns for the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations with a heavyweight clash at Stade Moulay Abdallah on Thursday.
The teams have been drawn into Group K of the qualifiers where they will face Liberia for two automatic spots at next year’s continental event following Zimbabwe’s disqualification by FIFA.
Morocco had a red face in their last outing which was a 3-0 loss to the United States of America on Wednesday at TQL Stadium.
Goals of Brenden Aaronson, Timothee Weah and Hadji Wright left Vahid HalilhodzicThe Cincinnati men are red-faced in a largely one-sided affair.
The Atlas Lions have been beaten for just the third time in the past two years and they will be looking for an immediate response.
Then comes the challenge of an opposing team that hasn’t won any of the last four meetings between the teams since winning each of the first two.
Unbeaten on their home turf since a 3-2 defeat at the hands of Gabon in 2019, Thursday’s hosts will come into the match with a bang and deservedly so.
South Africa suffered a 5-0 defeat in their last appearance on March 29 when they faced France.
A Kylian Mbappe splint and other goals Olivier Giroud, Wissam Ben Yedder and Matteo Guendouzi put Hugo Broosthe men of the sword at the Pierre-Mauroy stadium.
The Bafana Bafana have now failed to win any of their last three games while failing to find the back of the net during this period.
In a bid to secure a return to AFCON after missing the last edition, Thursday’s visitors will need to turn the tide on both sides as soon as possible.
Form Morocco (all competitions):
South Africa form (all competitions):
Youssef En Nesyri was named as a substitute in Morocco’s loss to the United States, but the Sevilla player is expected to be top on Thursday.
Other than that, we can see Vahid Halilhodzic name the same starting XI from the aforementioned game as he will be looking for a reaction from his players.
Hugo Broos shook up the field significantly for the first round of the playoffs, naming a host of uncapped players to his 28-man squad.
Terrence Mashego has been released from national team camp and will not travel with the rest of his teammates after injuring his knee.
Possible departure composition from Morocco:
Bono; Masina, Aguerd, Saiss, Mmaee, Hakimi; Ounahi, Amrabat, Taarabt; El Kaabi, En Nesyri
Possible starting line-up for South Africa:
Williams; Maela, Mobbie, Lakay, Phete; Morena, Maart, Maboe; Tau, Dolly, Makgopa
We say: Morocco 2-1 South Africa
Both teams boast a plethora of attacking talent, so we expect an open, end-to-end affair with plenty of chances at either end. That said, we’re also backing the home side to get the job done and come away with three hard-fought points.
For a data analysis of the most likely outcomes, scores and more for this match, please click here.
Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting over 1.5 goals in this game. Click here to find out what else they predict for this game and for more of their proven football tips.More than 1.5: data