Morocco ease to 3-0 win over Tanzania in Africa Cup opener Loop Jamaica

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Morocco’s Sofyan Amrabat controls the ball in the air during the African Cup of Nations Group F football match against Tanzania at the Laurent Pokou stadium in San Pedro, Ivory Coast, Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2024. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe).

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ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast (AP) — Youssef En-Nesyri had to wait until he was on the substitutes’ bench before celebrating a goal that helped Morocco seal a 3-0 win over Tanzania in their opening Africa Cup of Nations game on Wednesday.

En-Nesyri’s celebrations were initially cut short by the offside flag after he scored his team’s third goal in the 80th minute. He had already made way for substitute Amine Harit to go on in his place before a VAR check confirmed he had been onside for Achraf Hakimi’s cross.

It prompted En-Nesyri’s teammates to rush to the Moroccan bench to congratulate the Sevilla forward.

In the end, it was a comfortable win for the “Atlas Lions,” one of the pre-tournament favourites after reaching the World Cup semifinals in Qatar.

Romain Saïss opened the scoring in the 30th minute when he was quickest to the rebound after Aishi Manula saved Hakim Ziyech’s free kick from just outside the penalty area.

Morocco initially met stiff resistance from the “Taifa Stars,” who failed to have a single effort at goal in the first half. They managed two in the second half.

But any Tanzanian hopes of an upset were dealt a blow in the 70th, when Novatus Miroshi was sent off with his second yellow card for a foul. He became the third player to be shown a red card at the tournament.

Azzedine Ounahi sealed the win seven minutes later after playing a one-two with Amine Adli and striking a low shot inside the left post, three minutes before En-Nesyri had the final say.

Congo were to play Zambia in the other Group F game in San Pedro later.

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