Brave Bafana Bafana go down to Morocco in the opening Afcon qualifier

A brave Bafana Bafana lost 1-2 to hosts Morocco in a tough 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier at the Prince Moulay Abdellah Stadium on Thursday night.
The Moroccans were widely regarded as strong favourites to win the match and some observers expected the North Africans to simply show up to collect the precious points at stake without breaking into a sweat. But Bafana Bafana had other ideas and led the match for the majority of play before conceding two goals in the second half.
Lyle Foster stunned the home fans into silence when he beat goalkeeper Yassine Bounou with a well-taken low shot in the 7th minute to put the visitors in the lead. Credit to debutant Sphephelo Sithole, who shrugged off the attentions of two advancing Moroccans deep in his own half to deliver an inch-perfect pass that a grateful Foster stuck into the back of the net.

Captain and goalkeeper, Ronwen Williams, was in an uncompromising mood.


Morocco piled on the pressure as they desperately went in search of an equaliser but whenever they managed to get past the Bafana Bafana rear-guard, they found captain and goalkeeper Ronwen Williams in an uncompromising mood. Williams made a series of breath-taking saves to deny the Moroccans, ensuring that the visitors were still in the lead at the halftime break.
The Moroccans maintained the tempo after the restart and continued to ask serious questions of Williams and his men in the back. The pressure finally told when Youssef En-Nesyri beat Williams with a header from close range in the 51st minute. It was a tough goal to concede for Bafana Bafana as they had defended gallantly for long periods to keep the home side at bay.
But the North Africans were not done and Ayoub El Kaabi scored the winner in the 87th minute, giving the home side a three-point lead at the summit in Group K.

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