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Africa Cup of Nations | Group Stage
Jan 24, 2024 at 8pm UK
Laurent Pokou Stadium
MN

Zambia
0 - 1
Morocco

 
FT(HT: 0-1)
Ziyech (37')
Hakimi (81')

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

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

The Stade de San Pedro prepares to host a drama-laden finale to Group F in the Africa Cup of Nations as Zambia takes on Morocco on Wednesday night.

The Atlas Lions and the Chipolopolo lock horns in a clash where qualification for the round of 16 hangs in the balance.


Match preview

Back on the AFCON stage after a three-edition absence, Zambia are still chasing their first win in the tournament since their improbable triumph in 2012.

Two opening draws, both by an identical 1-1 scoreline, have dampened the Chipolopolo's roar, especially the latest disappointment against Tanzania in a game they were widely expected to win.

Avram Grant's men found themselves on the back foot early after Simon Msuva pounced on a quick turnover for the Taifa Stars, and matters worsened soon after defender Rodrick Kabwe received a second yellow card and sent off just before half-time, reducing Zambia to ten men.

However, the Chipolopolo dug deep and clawed their way back through Patson Daka's powerful late header, salvaging a point.

With two points from two games, the Southern Africans face a win-or-bust scenario against tournament favourites Morocco in their final group clash on Wednesday.

Failure to secure victory could see Zambia eliminated at the group stage for the third consecutive AFCON. However, the historical odds are stacked against them, having beaten Morocco only once in six meetings, losing three times and drawing twice.

Widely tipped as the tournament's strongest contenders, Morocco are targeting their second AFCON title in history.

The Atlas Lions initially lived up to expectations in their opening match, dispatching group minnows Tanzania by a convincing 3-0 margin. However, their quest for a smooth run hit a snag in their second outing, a frustrating 1-1 draw against DR Congo.

Morocco's Achraf Hakimi got his side off to a flying start with an opening goal in the sixth minute, but Silas Katompa Mvumpa of Congo DR snatched a deserved equaliser in the 76th minute. Earlier, Cedric Bakambu had spurned a golden opportunity for the Leopards when his first-half penalty struck the woodwork.

The drama was not confined to the pitch, as a melee erupted between players and coaching staff from both sides after the final whistle, reportedly triggered by Morocco coach Walid Regragui's approach to DR Congo captain Chancel Mbemba.

Despite concerns raised by the draw, Morocco have presented a solid showing - their attacking intent is evident, with 25 shots taken (11 on target) across their first two matches, and defensively, they have not been slouches either, conceding just two shots on target from the 12 they have faced.

However, their finishing needs serious sharpening. So far, they have only converted four of their 11 efforts on target, a statistic they will need to improve if they want to roar past their remaining opponents and claim the ultimate prize.

Zambia Africa Cup of Nations form:


Zambia form (all competitions):


Morocco Africa Cup of Nations form:


Morocco form (all competitions):



Team News

Zambia will be without Kabwe, who will serve a one-match suspension for his dismissal against Tanzania, and he is expected to be replaced by Tandi Mwape in the starting lineup.

Grant could also shuffle things up in attack, as Clatous Chama is in contention for a starting berth after putting in a fine showing last time out, providing the assist for Daka's equaliser.

Sofiane Boufal for Abde Ezzalzouli was the only change made by Regragui from Morocco's opener, and he could stick with the same lineup from the draw with Congo DR.

Noussair Mazraoui is yet to feature in this tournament, and he remains a doubt, with the centre-back duo of Romain Saiss, formerly of Wolverhampton Wanderers, and West Ham's Nayef Aguerd, expected to start again.

Youssef En-Nesyri, who netted in the victory over Tanzania, is likely to spearhead the attack once more on Wednesday.


Zambia possible starting lineup:
Mulenga; Mwape, Sunzu, Musonda, Chapeshi; Kapumbu; Banda, Banda, Kangwa, Sakala; Daka

Morocco possible starting lineup:
Bono; Hakimi, Aguerd, Saiss, Chibi; Amrabat; Ziyech, Ounahi, Amallah, Boufal; En-Nesyri


We say: Zambia 1-2 Morocco

Expect a cagey opening, with both teams wary of exposing vulnerabilities. Morocco's quality and technical finesse might give them the edge, but Zambia will not go down without a fight. The Atlas Lions have dominated this fixture in the past, and we expect this trend to continue on Wednesday.



For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.


Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting under 2.5 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 2.5:data


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