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Boufal gives Morocco first Africa Cup of Nations victory

Halilhodzic's team beat their group C big rivals as they await their next match against Comoros
AP/THEMBA HADEBE - Morocco's Sofiane Boufal celebrates after scoring a goal during the 2022 Africa Cup of Nations Group B football match between Morocco and Ghana.

AP/THEMBA HADEBE  -   Morocco's Sofiane Boufal celebrates after scoring a goal during the 2022 Africa Cup of Nations Group B football match between Morocco and Ghana.

The first big match of the Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) ended in Morocco's 1-0 win over Ghana at the Stade Omnisports in Yaoundé (Cameroon). Morocco thus won the first meeting between former champions of the competition (1976 for the North Africans and 1963, 1965, 1978 and 1982 for Ghana).

Ligue 1 Angers midfielder Sofiane Boufal's 83rd-minute goal was enough to earn the three points against a combative Ghana. It all started with a ball that former Atletico Madrid player Thomas Partey failed to steal. His rebound fell to the feet of Boufal and he made no mistake with the first goal in a decisive minute.

Sevilla striker Youssef En-Nesyri missed the game due to the injury that has plagued him for weeks and with which Sevilla tried to prevent his call-up. Vahid Halilhodzic is sure that En-Nesyri will end up getting minutes and, for the moment, he had enough with the Boufal goal that also helped him to win the trophy as the best player of the match.

Marruecos Ghana Copa África de Naciones
AFP/KENZO TRIBOUILLARD - Morocco striker Sofiane Boufal (L) celebrates with Morocco coach Vahid Halilhodzic after scoring a goal during the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) football match between Morocco and Ghana at the Ahmadou-Ahidjoe stadium in Yaounde on January 10, 2022.
Aubameyang tested positive for COVID-19

Ghana's Black Stars dominated much of the game and came close to scoring the first goal when Genk striker Joseph Paintsil's shot into the top corner was saved by Bono with a great save. 

The Atlas Lions celebrated a very important victory because the level of attack and defence shows the great work they do at the Mohamed VI Academy with the youth and senior national team players. 

Pierre Emerick Aubameyang Gabón Copa de África de Naciones
REUTERS/PHIL NOBLE - Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

Vahid Halilhodzic commented after the victory that "we ended up playing without five top players in the team. I'm happy because these youngsters who came in showed determination and knew how to represent their country's shirt".

In the other group match Gabon narrowly defeated Comoros despite the absence of Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who tested positive for COVID.