Group B Rivals Morocco, Burkinabe Share Spoils

Mohamed Oulhaj of Morocco and Bassirou Ouedraogo of Burkina Faso battle for possession
Mohamed Oulhaj of Morocco and Bassirou Ouedraogo of Burkina Faso battle for possession

Bassirou Ouedraogo scored a goal in the final minutes of play at Athlone Stadium to see Burkina Faso hold Morocco 1-1 in their CAF African Nations Championships on Thursday.

The Atlas Lions will rue their wasted chances after taking the lead from the first whistle of the game, while they were also controversially denied of a penalty in eth second-half after seeing Abdessamad Rafik brought to ground.

Morocco came into this match having drawn their opening match of Group B to Zimbabwe, while Burkina Faso’s first outing in the tournament ended in a 2-1 defeat to Uganda.

Hassan Benabicha’s men were deemed as the team to watch coming into the tournament after they had disposed of Tunisia, the defending champions during the qualifying rounds.

And they couldn’t have asked for a more perfect start after going 1-0 up 50 second into the game. Abdelkbir El Ouadi broke into the box and supplied a pin-point cross to Brahi El Bahri, who was at the near post and the attack made no error in pushing the ball passed Mohamed Kabore with his first touch.

Eric Traore of Burkina Faso evades challenge from Zakaria El Hachimi of Morocco
Eric Traore of Burkina Faso evades challenge from Zakaria El Hachimi of Morocco

The goalscorer drew a save out of Kabore in the 11th minute when he went around a defender before firing a low drive which the Burkinabe ‘keeper smothered and needed the help of his fellow teammates to clear.

It was all Morocco in the opening 20 minutes of the encounter and they drew another unconvincing save from the ‘keeper after a shot-cum-cross was released into the area.

Eric Traore turned his header midway through the first half just wide of the post, before El Bahri did brilliantly to dummy his markers and unleash a shot at goal. However, it glanced across the face of goal – should have been goal number two.

It was so nearly 1-1 just after the half an hour mark when a cross sailed into the Moroccan box, struck off the chest of a defender, went over the bar and onto the roof of the net.

Zakaria El Hachimi of Morocco tackles Aboubacar Traore of Burkina Faso
Zakaria El Hachimi of Morocco tackles Aboubacar Traore of Burkina Faso

The Atlas Lions nearly made it 2-0 five minutes from the interval when Kabore dropped a cross into the path of Abdessamad Rafik. The player tried to tap it in from close range but Traore brilliantly dealt it with on the line.

Burkina Faso nearly mirrored Morocco’s start to the game when they burst into the box at the restart. Bassirou Ouedraogo tried by beat Nadir Lamyaghri at the left side of the goal but the ‘keepers experienced proved crucial.

El Ouadi failed to double Morocco’s lead in the 55th minute with his snapshot on the edge of the area that swept the side netting.

Adil Sassa and Rafik both directed efforts towards goal in an attempt to extend Morocco’s lead but the daisy cutter and header respectively failed to hit the target.

Morocco were denied of a penalty just nine minutes from time when Rafik was brought down in the box. The referee saw nothing in the challenge.

Mohamed Abarhoun of Morocco battles for the ball with Bassirou Ouedraogo of Burkina Faso
Mohamed Abarhoun of Morocco battles for the ball with Bassirou Ouedraogo of Burkina Faso

The hard work of Brama Traore’s side finally paid off when their well-worked counter-attack saw Ouedraogo make it 1-1. The player beat the offside trap and knocked home an equalizer with just two minutes to spare.

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