Soccer Betting News - SA's Leading Soccer Betting Newspaper: Gabon vs Morocco Preview

Gabon vs Morocco Preview

Morocco

AFCON 2021 brings us Group C’s paramount fixture; Gabon seek to make a statement against high-flying Morocco at the Ahmadou Ahidjo Stadium. Will the Panthers pounce at the opportunity to take first place in Group C? Or will the Atlas Lions show them which cat has the more ferocious bite?

Africa Cup of Nations – Group C
Tuesday 18 January
Ahmadou Ahidjo Stadium
21:00

To Win
Gabon 38/10
Draw 37/20
Morocco 8/10

Gabon

Gabon showed great fighting spirit against Ghana. A late Jim Allevinah strike from the bench secured a point for The Panthers. Gabon started on the front foot against the Black Stars, just as they had done against Comoros, but poor execution in the final third however meant that clearcut chances on goal were almost non-existent.

A cause for concern is the yet to feature captain of Gabon, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. The Arsenal forward has missed the opening two fixtures for The Panthers and is still a doubt to feature. The latest being reported are traces of Coronavirus still in the Auba’s system, alongside ‘cardiac liaisons’ as announced by Fecafoot last Friday.

It will be a close call for the captain, but Mario Lemina and Axel Meye are both in contention to make their first appearances after suffering the same fate.

Allevinah has staked his claim for a starting role in the upcoming fixture. After coming on as a sub and making a huge impact and scoring the equaliser for Gabon, the 25-year-old could see himself alongside Aaron Boupendza for the final group matchday.

On four points, The Panthers are in a good position to qualify as third best or second depending on outside results but beating Morocco will allow them to top group C with the best seat in the house for round-of-16 seeding.

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Morocco

Morocco look the deadliest of the big guns and have maintained a 100% track record this AFCON 2021. The Atlas Lions opened up their campaign against what was tipped to be the biggest matchday one fixture, edging Ghana 1-0 and they cruised to a 2-0 victory over Comoros last time out.

Selim Amallah opened the scoring early against Comoros, Youssef En-Nesyri couldn’t net the North African’s penalty to close out the game in the 83rd-minute, but Zakaria Aboukhlal netted six minutes later to make sure of all three points.

Morocco are now 6/1 favourites alongside Nigeria, behind Senegal who hasn’t looked all that impressive and 5/1 host nation Cameroon who have put together good performances. The Atlas Lions are in search of their second ever AFCON trophy after winning their first almost half a century ago. It’s been one loss in their last 15 games, and if you’re looking to back an outright winner, they look the team.

After missing just two players in the opening fixture, Morocco have been lucky to keep injuries, Covid, and suspensions away from their camp, and the backline that has been key in their success should remain unchanged to secure the top spot of group C.

Achraf Hakimi, Romain Saiss, Nayef Aguerd, and Adama Mesina will marshal the defence, and if anything gets through, Sevilla’s Yassine Bounou will prevent anything touching the back of the net.

Prediction: Morocco Win (8/10)

Gabon come out firing early in all their fixtures and take their time to get back into it after the first 45. If Morocco can weather the storm, catch them on the break in the early exchanges, and maintain ball possession in the latter stages, it will be smooth sailing to the round-of-16.

Written by Joshua Gaillard