Holders Morocco squeezed a slim 1-0 victory over debutants Togo while Rwanda and Uganda settled for a scoreless draw on Day Three of the Africa Nations Championship in Cameroon, Monday.
In a tournament that has so far produced just four goals in four games and no striker is yet to register his name on the scoresheet, defender Yahya Jabrane converted a first-half penalty to give Morocco a positive start in their title defence.
While Morocco will be ruing the numerous wasted chances, Togo, who are making their first appearance will have goalkeeper Abdoul-Moubarak Aigba to thank for keeping the scoreline low.
No team has ever scored more that one goal in this year’s tournament. Cameroon beat Zimbabwe by a solitary goal, same as Mali and DR Congo who squeezed a 1-0 victory over Burkina Faso and Congo respectively.
A scoreless result in the East Africa Derby between Rwanda and Uganda was a cabon copy of the result between Libya and Niger. This means that the tourney has just produced four goals out of six matches.
An agile Aigba denied both Walid El Karti and Ayoub El Kaabi six clear chances in a frustrating evening for the Atlas Lions.
The hawk-eyed keeper had saved Jabrane’s first penalty, but the referee called for a retake after Aigba was judged to have moved before the ball was taken.
The Wydad Casablanca centre-back gave Aigba no chance in the retake when he sent the keeper the wrong way after a bruising 27 minutes of action at the Stade de la Reunification.
Karti, Soufiane Kahini and Kaabi all had chances to score for Morocco, but were not in their mood to score.
Togo’s Yendoutie Nane blasted an open chance early in the second half after the West African returned from the break a more aggressive side.
Marouf Tchakel also blew away another golden chance in the 83rd minute when he when he was denied by Morocco’s goalkeeper Anas Zniti, who was also part of the winning squad in 2018.
On the other side of the pitch El Kaabi who won the Golden Boot 2018 edition of this tournament, with nine goals, was also denied at close range by Aigba.
While the defending champions Morocco will be happy by starting the competition with a victory, they will have to rethink their attacking strategy after missing more than six scoring opportunities.