On paper, Vahid Halilhodzic gathered all the forces to offer a beautiful show to Moroccan supporters. On the ground, the Atlas Lions did the job against Ghana in a friendly (1-0), without roaring. Missed opportunities or even lack of creativity, the national team does not reassure.
“A small Morocco is needed against Ghana”, titled So Foot, after the meeting between the Moroccan selection and that of Ghana, during the first friendly match on the sidelines of the preparations for CAN 2021 and the World Cup 2022.
A title that says a lot about the performance of the Atlas Lions, despite a “deserved” victory according to the coach, Vahid Halilhodzic, who made some changes to his starting XI as well as to the team’s usual tactics, with a 3-5-2 formation, supposed to benefit Achraf Hakimi, one of the most anticipated players on the pitch but who touched very few balloons.
Morocco won thanks to Jawad El Yamiq who headed a free kick well shot by Hakim Ziyech (69th), as soon as he came into play. A saving goal after a sterile first period and problems creating shifts to go beyond the Ghanaian defense.
Although the Moroccan part has Retaining possession of the ball for most of the first half, Ghana’s strong and well-placed defensive line wasted no time in translating possession into dangerous opportunities. The only significant scoring opportunity came in a header from Ghanem Saiss, which hit the crossbar.
If defensively the Lions have ensured, in particular thanks to their captain or even Nayef Aguerd and the only scorer of the evening Jawad El Yamiq, the offensive animation, it was difficult to conclude, starting with Youssef En-Nesyri who did not could not fuel the attack.
Badly dosed passes and a questioned tactic
Indeed, the midfielder provided by Selim Amallah and Adel Taarabt was marked by a lot of waste and badly dosed passes that did not reach the feet of the attackers En-Nesyri and El Haddadi, the duo of Sevilla FC who only play very little together in a club.
However, the arrival of Ayoub El Amloud, the only representative of Botola in the field, seems to have done the group good, the latter having been one of the brightest so far, although on his left lane, he couldn’t climb higher to find the attackers.
As usual, Yassine Bounou, considered one of the best goalkeepers in La Liga, assured his role, leaving no Ghanaians ball passed between his nets.
Many supporters and specialized media have raised many questions about Vahid’s tactics and his choice of players to align, some of them not having the status of holder in their respective clubs namely Munir El Haddadi, Adel Taarabt or even Ayman Barkok to the detriment of players like Soufiane Rahimi or Achraf Bencharki, who know the African game very well.
However, far from criticism, the main concerned was satisfied with the performance of his foals. “It’s a well-deserved victory. I appreciated the group spirit and the rigor. The victory was difficult but deserved. We were shy, we lacked courage and daring. I am satisfied “, he declared on the microphone of Arryadia TV.
In anticipation of the next deadlines, in particular the qualifiers for the Qatar 2022 World Cup, the foals of Vahid Halilhodzic will meet their counterparts from Burkina, on the 12th current on the lawn of the Prince Moulay Abdellah sports complex in Rabat. A golden opportunity for Moroccan players to show that they have more than one trick up their sleeve.