Morocco Hammers Nigeria to Claim African Nations Championship

Moroccan players celebrate their victory.Moroccan players celebrate their victory.

Host Morocco claimed the African Nations Championship (CHAN) on Sunday after hammering Nigeria 4-0 in the final.

Despite poor weather, the match was played in front of a packed crowd in the Mohammed V Stadium in Morocco’s biggest city of Casablanca, Xinhua News Agency reported.

In the best game ever of the local Atlas Lions in the tournament, which is for African footballers based in their own domestic leagues, the Moroccans largely dominated, but they were unable to convert their dominance until the stroke of half time through Zakaria Hadraf.

In the second half, Morocco’s first CHAN title edged even closer after Nigeria’s Eneji Moses left the pitch after a second yellow card at the 47th minute.

Morocco continued to create better opportunities and eventually convert them. Ayoub El Kaabi first hit the post with bicycle kick, and then Walid El Karti converted from close range after the Nigerian keeper parried a shot in the 61st minute.

After only three minutes, Hadraf, the match’s best player, continued his impressive performance, scoring his brace in the game. The CHAN top scorer finally scored in the 73rd minute, his ninth goal in the competition.

Morocco is drawn with Iran, Portugal and Spain in Group B of the upcoming World Cup finals to be held in Russia, June 14 to July 15.

After the draw was done last December, some experts and websites referred to Group B as the group of death among the overall eight groups as it comprised Portugal, champion of the 2016 UEFA European Championship; Spain, champion of 2010 FIFA World Cup; Iran, the best team in AFC ranking and Morocco, a strong African team. Now, with the title going to the Moroccans as the champions in Africa, Group B can be truly named the “Death Group” for having football giants from three continents.

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