Morocco Vs Croatia Ends In A Stalemate

Yassine Bounou & Nikola Vlasic
Yassine Bounou & Nikola Vlasic

Africa's wait for a goal at the 2022 FIFA World Cup continues after Morocco and Croatia drew 0-0 in their Wednesday afternoon encounter in Qatar. 

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The game began in lively fashion as both sides looked to play on the front foot in their opening Group F encounter.

Selim Amallah's give-away in the middle of the park to Ivan Perisic in the 17th minute proved the closest either side came to a goal early on in the game, but the Croat was unsuccessful with his strike.

With the Moroccans growing into the game as the first half progressed, it was the 2018 World Cup finalists who fashioned the best chances. 46 minutes into the game, goalkeeper Yassine Bounou had to make a spectacular save to keep the Croats out, and a minute later, Luka Modric's shot went narrowly over the bar.

Between Perisic's effort and Modric's near-goal, though, Morocco was the side that seemed to be threatening the most, but despite that, the teams went into the break with scoreline at 0-0.

The second half began in a frantic manner. Noussair Mazraoui headed towards goal and forced Croatia goalkeeper Livakovic into a save, before the Europeans bore down on the Moroccans, requiring a save from Bounou.

After that, the game followed much the same pattern, with the Croats having most of the possession but not the guile to penetrate the Moroccan defence.

In the 63rd minute, Hakim Ziyech rolled his free-kick for Achraf Hakimi, who struck a long-range effort that stung Livakovic's hands. It would be another free-kick nine minutes later, this time from the Croats, that would prove to be the next good chance. 

Real Madrid's star midfielder Modric whipped in a dangerous delivery from the right, but the 36-year-old failed to find Marko Livaja, with West Ham's Nayef Aguerd intercepting just in time.

Shouts for a penalty rang from the Moroccan fanbase at the Al Bayt Stadium when Abde Ezzazouli went down in the box in the 86th minute, but Dejan Lovren was adjudged to have won the ball cleanly in his challenge. 

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Neither side would create any more clear-cut chances after that as honours ended all square between the 1976 Africa Cup of Nations winners and Zlatko Dalic's men.

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