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Date: 11/02/2004
Time: 18:00 (GMT)
Venue: Sousse

Preview:

Before the start of the tournament, few would have predicted Morocco would make it to the last four.

But ever since the 1-0 win against Nigeria in their opening group encounter, the Atlas Lions have gone from strength to strength.

Coach Badou Zaki has mixed youth and experience into his squad and it appears to have worked well.

Veteran defender Nourredine Naybet, who will win his 103rd cap against Mali, will play in a team containing a wealth of young forwards - Marouane Chamakh, Youssef Hadji and Jaouad Zairi - all who have scored.

"It's a very solid union between the players, a very strong mentality in the group and a lot of desire to win," said 34-year-old Naybet.

"These are the principles you need. In any team, you need experience mixed with youth.

"The results so far show that we are working well together," he added.

"Let's hope the young generation can keep going."

Morocco have been dealt a major blow after it was announced central defender Talal El Karkouri will miss the rest of the African Cup of Nations after suffering a calf injury against Algeria.

Perugia's Jamal Alioui is favourite to fill in El Karkouri's place in the heart of the defence.

Mali coach Henri Stambouli believes recent good performances against Morocco will not matter when it comes to the crucial match on Wednesday.

"We have recovered well, we're physically in shape and we have no injury worries," said the Frenchman.

"We have had good results against Morocco in friendlies. Now, in a cup match, things are different."

Stambouli will be hoping that his star striker, Frederic Kanoute, can continue his good run of form which has seen the Tottenham man plunder in four goals.

"When you have a goalscorer like that in a team, you always hope you can count on him to score," added the coach.

"Today, he's the one who is finishing off our attacks, though there are others capable of scoring."

There is no Mali team news to report.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/football/africa/3476331.stm

My Prediction: Morocco 3 Mali 2
 

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Bang boom dang crash Morocco hammerd Mali with 4-0 after 2 goals from Mokthari and one each from Hadji and Baha

Finale here we come eh
 

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Best team in the tournament so far, they enjoy what they are doing, great tactics and most importantly great skills and young players.


This is the 1st final between two Arabic teams :D
 

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Morocco aren't only the best team in this African Cup of Nations, but they are BY FAR the most organised, most talented and most disciplined side. This Morocco side can go far in the upcoming World Cup in Germany.

Now, as for the game against Mali.

Morocco changed the system from 3-5-2 to 4-2-3-1 in this game. Akram Roumani played at Left-back instead of Hussein Kharja. Roumani didn't push forward at all in the game and all what he did was defending. He did his job quite well as this was his first game in the tournament. The 2 ball winners were Adbel Karim Kissi and Youssef Safri, the latter had a brilliant game. He's my DM of the tournament. Seriously, how many lungs does he have ?

On the right side, Youssef Hadji played a similar role to that of C.Ronaldo at Man U. On the left there was Moha Al-Yaqouby. One of the best left-footed midfielders in the whole tournament. He's dynamic, energetic, versatile and really talented. Youssef Al-Moukhtari played in this trident too. Actually, I Can't just say that "A" played in Location "B" or something. All 3 were exchanging places and all 3 had a great game. Great free kick executed by Al-Moukhtary. :star: He had an effort right before it but Sidibe saved it. This time Youssef changed the direction of his free kick. ;)

Every time the ball was with a Malian player you'd see 2 Morrocan players putting serious pressure on this Malian player. The first 25-30 minutes all belonged to the Atlas Lions. Mali took control of the 1st half in the last 15 minutes or so. Kanoute was tightly marked and he didn't have a chance to breathe let alone have a shot on goal or something. That's despite the fact that Morocco missed Talal Al-Karkouri through injury. There weren't any chances in this half except for an effort by Dramane Traore, which was easily held by Fouhami.

In the start of the 2nd half Mali controlled the game, seeking an equaliser. The introduction of Bassala Toure brought some life to Mali. Yet, against the run of play Morocco added a second. A powerful left-footed effort in the far corner. 2-0 and the game was virtually over. And from a great, pin-point cross from Chamakh, Hadji neatly scored a 3rd. Nabil Baha made his first appearance in the ACN, And scored a beautiful goal. Chamakh again was there to make the final pass. I Doubted the strength and solidity of the Mali defence since I saw their first game against Kenya. Now I guess the scoreline proves me right. ;)

Morocco built-up 3 attacks and scored 4 goals. :dazed: Talk about efficiency. Tonight in Sousse it was a lesson in counter-attacking football.

Bottom line: It would be a shame if Morocco didn't win this Cup. They're the most complete team in Africa at the moment.

I'll be rooting for Morocco in the final, That's for sure.
 

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Nerazzuri4life said:
Morocco built-up 3 attacks and scored 4 goals. :dazed: Talk about efficiency. Tonight in Sousse it was a lesson in counter-attacking football.

Bottom line: It would be a shame if Morocco didn't win this Cup. They're the most complete team in Africa at the moment.

I'll be rooting for Morocco in the final, That's for sure.
Couldn't agree more and with the amount of Moroccans living in Rotterdam it could end up a huge party come Saturday!
 
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