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Jan 22, 2021 at 4pm UK

El Kaabi (69')

Niyonzima (37')

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

:Headline: Preview: Morocco vs. Rwanda - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Friday's African Nations Championship clash between Morocco and Rwanda, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Morocco will be aiming to make it two wins from two when they take on Rwanda, after opening their title defence with a shaky win on Monday evening.

The 2018 champions battled for a 1-0 victory against a resilient Togo side, while Rwanda settled for a goalless draw with Uganda at the Douala Reunification Stadium.

Match preview

Hussein Ammouta led Morocco to the African Nations Championship title in 2018, and regardless of the unconvincing display on Monday, the Atlas Lions have begun their title defence with a win.

Yahya Jabrane's 27th-minute penalty strike was all that separated Morocco and Togo, but it was enough to fire the North Africans to the top of Group C.

Abdoul Moubarak Aigba initially saved the Wydad Casablanca defender's spot kick, however, referee Andofetra Rakotojaona called for a retake, after the Togolese goalkeeper moved before the ball was struck. Jabrane made no mistake on his second attempt, sending the Aigba the wrong way to open the scoring.

Morocco will look build on this result when they take on Rwanda on Friday, knowing a win will secure their place in the quarter-finals.

Rwanda are making their fourth appearance at the African Nations Championship, after a 2-1 aggregate victory over Ethiopia in the qualifiers.

In their opening game, the Wasps played out a goalless draw with the Cranes of Uganda, as both nations failed to convert their chances.

Muhadjiri Hakizimana came closest to scoring on the half-hour mark, when he rattled the crossbar after gliding past a couple of Uganda defenders.

Head coach Vincent Mashami continues to struggle for results, managing just two wins in 13 games since his appointment in 2018.

Rwanda have failed to taste victory in their last nine outings, with their last win coming in 2019, when they defeated Ethiopia in the African Cup of Nations qualifiers.

They are also winless in their last three meetings with Morocco, and will need to end this poor run if they hope to progress to the next round.

A win here will take Rwanda one point above the defending champions at the top of the Group C, and almost guarantee their place in the quarter-finals.

Morocco African Nations Championship form: W
Morocco form (all competitions): WWDWWW

Rwanda African Nations Championship form: D
Rwanda form (all competitions): DDDDLD

Team News

Besides Soufiane Rahimi, who picked up a knock last time out, Morocco have a full strength squad going into this clash.

Hussein Ammouta is unlikely to make changes to the starting lineup that secured victory against Togo, meaning Soufiane Boutouil and Abdelmounaim Bouftini will once again pair at the centre of the defence.

Rwanda will be without the services of midfielder Rashid Kalisa, who was injured midway through the game against Uganda.

Eric Nsabimana will push for a place in the starting XI, after his impressive performance off the bench against Uganda.

Morocco possible starting lineup:
Zniti; El Moussaoui, Boutouil, Bouftini, Baadi; Jabrane, Larbi, El Karti; Rahimi, El Kaabi, Hadraf

Rwanda possible starting lineup:
Kwizera; Imanishimwe, Manzi, Mutsinzi, Omborenga; Kalisa, Niyonzima; Nshuti, Hakizimana, Iradukunda; Tuyisenge

We say: Morocco 2-0 Rwanda

With two wins and one draw in the previous three meetings, Morocco are on an impressive run against Rwanda, and considering the gulf in quality of both squads, they will most likely continue this run and grab all three points on Friday.

Top betting 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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