Gabon will be facing the Atlas Lions of Morocco in their last group match after enjoying a promising spell since the commencement of the African Cup of Nations tournament. They won their first game against Comoros and drawn their second against Ghana. A draw against Morocco will hand them a place in the round 16th stage of the competition.
For Morocco, they have already booked a ticket to the next round of the competition after winning their first two games. Morocco eased past Comoros with a convincing 2-0 victory, thanks to Selim Amallah and Zakaria Aboukhlal’s goals.
Morocco lies currently on top of their group standings with 6 points. Gabon places second with 4 points, Ghana have only a point after two games and debutant Comoros places 4th with no points. They are expected to stamp their authority to emerge as group winners with a 100% record in the group stages. Morocco will be going into this game with the mentality of securing the three points.
They have met in the AFCON finals just once so far, with Gabon recording a 3-2 win in the group stage fixture during the 2012 edition.
WHEN AND WHERE?
Venue: Ahmadou Ahidjo Stadium (Rabit City).
Date: Tuesday, 18th January 2022.
Time: 19:00 HRS BST.
Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang missed Gabon’s Africa Cup of Nations draw with Ghana on Friday after scans revealed “heart lesions” following a bout of Covid and would be sidelined once again in their last match in the group.
Gabon FA has confirmed that, 5 other players are ruled out of the Morocco clash due to Covid-19.
Players like Mario Lemina, Sambrissa David, Bouanga Denis, Eneme Ulrich, Ngoualim Serge and Fotso Junior are the notable names together with Pierre-Emerick Aubamenyang who would be out of this showpiece.
Morocco have a fully fit squad available for selection this time around but Ayman Barkok will need a clearance from CAF before he can join the squad for the match.
Gabon would be going into this game with their familiar 3-4-1-2 system. A system that helped them secure a draw against Ghana. A few changes with regards to the starting line-up is expected to change. Gabon are expected to be compact in the midfield leaving no spaces for their opponents to dwell on to create chances. Once again, Gabon would depend on quick transitions and counterattacks to get their goals in this game.
For Morocco, they would be going into the game with a 4-1-4-1 with the team creating a lot of chances, holding on possession and controlling the game.
They are adapted to either playing the 3-5-2 system or the 4-3-3 system with an aggressive attacking play committing a lot of players into the opponent’s half but they should be mindful of counterattacks from the Panthers when committing a lot of players into their opponents half.
PREMIER LEAGUE PLAYERS TO FEATURE:
The absence of Pierre-Emerick Aubamenyang will once again leave a void in attack for Gabon. He is renowned for his pace, finishing, and off-ball movement. Creating and finishing clear cut chances for Gabon in this game would be difficult without Aubamenyang.
The skipper of the Atlas Lions, Romain Saiss who plays for Wolverhampton Wanderers will be in action on Tuesday. He was fantastic in the first game against Ghana and was on point against Comoros too as he won most of the aerial duels he faced in the match. His presence in this game will also provide his team with the needed leadership on the field of play.
Adam Masina of Watford F.C would also be in contention to play on Tuesday. Adam Masina is an energetic, tall and physical defender. He has the ability to play either as a left-back, a left wing-back or a left-sided midfielder. This indicates his flexibility to acclimatize himself to any kind of system and formation.
Midfielder Imran Louza who players for Watford F.C is also expected to feature in this game. His presence will help his team to create more chances and make final third passes in the game.
Gabon Predicted XI (3-4-1-2): Jean-Noël Amonome; Anthony Oyono, Bruno Ecuele Manga, David Sambissa; Louis Ameka Autchanga, André Biyogo Poko, Serge-Junior Martinsson Ngouali, Johann Obiang; Jim Allevinah; Denis Bouanga, Aaron Boupendza.
Morocco Predicted XI (4-1-4-1): Yassine Bounou; Achraf Hakimi, Romain Saiss, Nayef Aguerd, Tarik Tissoudali; Sofyan Amrabat; Faycal Fajr, Munir El Haddadi, Sofiane Boufal, Imran Louza; Zakaria Aboukhlal.
Gabon 1-2 Morocco