Saturday, June 8, 2013

Morocco 2 - Tanzania 1; Cote d'Ivoire 3 - Gambia 0

Cote d'Ivoire came into Bakau looking to defeat hosts Gambia for the second time in the tournament.  Gambia almost had the opener after a slaloming run left two Ivoirians in its wake, but the resulting shot hit the far post and bounced back to the goalkeeper.  Les Elephants did not fail to take advantage of the let off.  Mamadou Danso got an initial block on the shot by Lacina Traore, but Traore scooped up the rebound and scored to give Cote d'Ivoire the lead after a dozen minutes.  Gambia were the much better side in the first forty-five, but it would be Cote d'Ivoire with the 1-0 lead at the break.

Midfield maestro Yaya Toure provided the great midfield chipped through ball that sent Traore on a bolting run.  Traore slotted a ball across the face of goal under the onrushing goalkeeper, allowing for Wilfried Bony (pictured, green) to push home into an empty net for 2-0.  To further make the scoreline unjust against the Scorpions, Toure stepped up to deliver a free kick goal in the final minute of the match. Cote d'Ivoire win 3-0 and eliminate Gambia from the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

The crowd at Marrakech knew that hosts Morocco would have to defeat Tanzania in order to stay alive in the tournament.  An early break by Morocco nearly put them ahead.  After a through ball, Mounir Obbadi swung in a cross that left Aberrazzaq Hamed with a free header, but Tanzania goalkeeper Juma Kaseja denied his effort with an acrobatic save that ricocheted off the crossbar.  Hamed was constant menace down the left flank for Morocco, and it appeared only a matter of time separated him from a goal.  With eight minutes left in the half, Hamed received a pass ten yards from goals, beating the offside trap.  Aggrey Morris ran right through Hamed's body to prevent the goal and was sent off for Tanzania in minute 38.  Hamed converted the penalty kick, and Morocco would take that 1-0 lead with them into halftime.

Morocco doubled their lead after five minutes when a through ball to Youssef El Arabi caught the right back sleeping on the offside trap.  El Arabi dribbled around Kaseja and tapped into the vacant net for the second goal.  The goal of the match came ten minutes later.  From twenty-six yards, Amri Kiemba let loose a massive drive that stunned the Moroccans, who otherwise had firm control of the match due to the extra man.  Kiemba's goal was not enough to save Tanzania as Morocco win 2-1.

Cote d'Ivoire 10 pts +8
Tanzania 6 pts 0
Morocco 5 pts -1
Gambia OUT

Cote d'Ivoire
Lacina Traore 12
Wilfried Bony 62
Yaya Toure 90

Abderazak Hamdallah 40 PK
Youssef El Arabi 51

Amri Kiemba 62

Match Reports:

Highlights: (Cote d'Ivoire v. Gambia) (Morocco v. Tanzania)

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