Brave Warriors denied by Late Own-goal

Satish Sekar
By Satish Sekar June 29, 2019 16:57

Brave Warriors denied by Late Own-goal

By Satish Sekar at Cairo’s Al Salam Stadium © Satish Sekar (June 23rd 2019)

Cruel

Hervé Renard’s Atlas Lions scraped past a determined and spirited Namibia courtesy of a late own goal by Itamunua Keimune. Ajax’s Hakim Ziyach was at the heart of all Morocco’s best work, and it was his free-kick into the danger area that was sliced into his own net by Keimune.

The distraught player had to be consoled by Ricardo Mannetti after the match. It wasn’t pretty football, but Mannetti had to cut the cloth at his disposal to fit. He did so, almost grabbing what would have been a famous point and result.

Points and Plaudits

Morocco have the points, and Namibia the plaudits. But don’t write either off.

“We know our strengths;” Mannetti said, “we know our weaknesses.

“You cannot come to Africa Nations Cup after 11 or 12 years and then you expect – you’re already in a Group of Death – and then you expect to talk about round two and quarter finals and getting out of the group.

I think this group as far as I’m concerned, we will play a very important role deciding who’s going to go through. That should be quoted, please. We will play that role, and we’re happy playing that role.”

Resistance

As expected Loydt Kazapua was the busier keeper. Ziyach’s early free-kick rebounded to Nabil Dirar. His fierce shot from outside the area stung Kazapua’s fingers as he tipped it over. Youssef En-Nesyri went close as did Ziyach before Noureddine Amrabat and Larry Horaeb tangled again – no penalty as they were both fouling each other.

Ziyach went close twice in the second half, but Kazapua was determined not to be beaten. The Maccabi FC keeper pulled off a couple more saves. Chances came and went in the largely one-way traffic. Namibia edged towards a famous point with not pretty football, but it was effective. Ten minutes from full time Absalom Iimbondi made way for Keimune and an upset looked on the cards until the last minute of normal time.

Double AFCON-winner, Renard, knows how that feels. His Atlas Lions conceded a late game-deciding own-goal to Iran in the World Cup last year.

Satish Sekar
By Satish Sekar June 29, 2019 16:57