Morocco are unbeaten in five meetings with South Africa, dating back to 2002. The Atlas Lions have won 18 of their last 28 AFCON qualifiers, losing just three.
Morocco to win and under 2.5 goals is 3/2.
It’s been a mixed 2022 so far for Morocco, so will they start this latest campaign with a victory?
Back in January, Vahid Halilhodžić’s side went to AFCON with dreams of lifting the trophy, but exited in the quarter-finals against rivals Egypt.
However, the blow was softened quite a lot in March as the Atlas Lions qualified for the World Cup, hammering DR Congo 5-2 in their play-off.
So, in November, they’ll take on Croatia, Belgium and Canada in Qatar, looking to reach the knockout stages for the first time since Mexico ’86.
Already this month, Morocco have warmed up for these two qualifies by taking on the United States in Cincinnati, easily beaten 3-0 out there.
So now, the serious games return for the Atlas Lions, looking to get three points on the board.
South Africa meanwhile actually failed to qualify for the most recent edition of AFCON, losing a winner takes all game against Sudan in March 2021.
Bafana Bafana reached the quarter-finals three summers ago, ousting hosts Egypt, but have failed to qualify for four of the last seven editions.
In this three-team group, all Hugo Broos’ side have to do is finish above Liberia, a team who haven’t qualified since 2002.
In this opener, Morocco should have far too much quality at Prince Moulay Abdellah Stadium.
Morocco team news
Don't expect to see either Noussair Mazraoui or Hakim Ziyech either here or at the World Cup as both have fallen out with Head Coach Vahid Halilhodžić.
The manager infamously accidentally shot himself in the buttocks during the Yugoslav war of independence, and has metaphorically done so here too.
Imran Louza, Sofiane Boufal, Ryan Mmaee and Abde didn't make the trip to the U.S. for the friendly, so are also not in contention here.
Their obvious star is Achraf Hakimi who scored not one but two free-kicks at the Africa Cup of Nations earlier this year.
On the other side, Adam Masina was excellent against the United States, getting forward and causing problems from left-back.
Romain Saïss of Wolves and QPR's Ilias Chair are familiar faces to English football fans.
The Sevilla contingent of Yassine Bounou, Munir El Haddadi and Youssef En-Nesyri could all start, the latter has scored 12 times for Morocco.
Adel Taarabt will be in midfield; he's playing some of the best football of his career now with Benfica.
South Africa team news
Bafana Bafana's star man is Percy Tau, once of Brighton now with Al Ahly, which says a lot about the quality of this team.
Bongokuhle Hlongwane though, of Minnesota United, has made an impressive start to international football, scoring twice from six caps.
Right-back Khuliso Mudau came off the bench and was sent off in March's friendly against France, so isn't likely to start here.
Ronwen Williams will captain his country in goal; he's conceded just 31 goals in 26 South Africa caps so far, keeping ten clean sheets.
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