Goalless Morocco make a tame exit
CAIRO, Egypt -- African football giants Morocco made a tame first-round exit from the Nations Cup after a drab 0-0 draw with Libya in Cairo on Saturday.
Runners-up to hosts Tunisia in the previous tournament, the Atlas Lions fielded many of the 2004 silver medalists but failed to score a goal in three Group A matches.
Morocco finished third with two points behind Egypt and Ivory Coast while the result confirmed the improvement of Libya since suffering a hiding from the hosts in the opening match of the 16-nation tournament.
Plagued by poor goalkeeping at the Nations Cup, Libya recalled Uruguay-born Luis Agustini after his one-match suspension for being sent off in the heavy defeat by Egypt.
Although the Libyan Greens were out of contention for a quarterfinal place they created the first chance with Nader Kara firing wide after getting to a Tarek al-Taib through ball before goalkeeper Tarek el-Jarmouni.
Despite needing to win handsomely, the Moroccans showed little urgency on a cool evening at the sparsely populated 28,000-seat Military Stadium in the Egyptian capital.
And when the former champions did create a chance after 14 minutes, veteran defender and captain Noureddine Naybet volleyed over from close range after Libya failed to clear a free kick.
This incident triggered a short spell of Moroccan pressure in which Agustini did well to intercept a Marouane Chamakh header bound for unmarked Youssef Hadji deep inside the penalty area.
While Morocco battled to score English Premiership central defenders Naybet and Tarek el-Karkouri impressed and the latter made a timely tackle to foil Kara as half-time neared.
El-Karkouri was not shy to press forward either and his hard, low free kick was well held by Agustini, who displayed far more confidence than against the Egyptian Pharaohs.
The Libyan goalkeeper was decisive again in the closing stages of the half, punching a cross clear under pressure as Morocco dominated territorially without looking dangerous.
|© 2007 Cable News Network LP, LLLP.
A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines. Contact us. Site Map.