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Morocco look to avoid upset against Benin

Staff Writer

Morocco will take on Benin in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) Round of 16 match at the Al Salam Stadium in Egypt on Friday.

Kick-off is at 6pm CAT.

The Atlas Lions’ hopes of clinching their second Afcon title are still alive after reaching the knockout phase as Group D winners.

Herve Renard’s men dominated the group, recording 1-0 victories over South Africa and Ivory Coast, before thumping Namibia 4-1.

Accomplished French coach Renard says they cannot afford to relax as they could be surprised in the knockout phase.

“It’s too early to speak about who will be crowned at the end,” said Renard, who is the only coach to win the Afcon title with two different countries.

“There might be surprises and we have to prepare more.”

Playmaker Hakim Ziyechi and striker Youssef En-Nesyri are Renard’s key attackers and they have the ability to inspire Morocco to victory over Benin.

Meanwhile, Benin secured their place in the knockout phase for the first time as one of the four best third-placed teams, having finished third in Group F.

The Squirrels opened their group stage campaign with a 2-2 draw with Ghana, before recording 0-0 stalemates against Guinea-Bissau and Cameroon.

Benin head coach Michel Dussuyer is looking to ensure that they extend their stay in Egypt with a win over Morocco.

“It’s a great feat to end the group undefeated. It’s a great feeling of pride,” Dussuyer said.

“There is a saying that appetite comes with eating. If we can get home as late as possible, it will be fine.”

Playmaker Stephane Sessegnon and striker Steve Mounie are Benin’s dangermen and they will be keen to play an important role in helping their side stun Morocco.

In head-to-head stats, Morocco and Benin have met on five occasions.

Morocco are undefeated against Benin, having registered five victories.

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