Bafana Bafana will be hoping results go their way in order to progress to the knockout stages at the Africa Cup of Nations after a late Moubarak Boussoufa goal which handed Morocco a 1-0 win in their final Group D clash.
Bafana came into the game knowing that a point would likely see them qualify as one of the best-placed sides in third place, while a win would see them through.
Morocco had already qualified for the knockout stages and would be looking to create a winning momentum heading into the next round.
Stuart Baxter made three changes, bringing back Ronwen Williams in goal, while Kamohelo Mokotjo while Thulani Serero were handed starts.
Bafana started well as Serero and Percy Tau looked to combine in the forward areas, but their combinations weren’t quite coming off as Morocco saw off Bafana’s early forays into their half.
The Atlas Lions, though, began to find their rhythm and came close to opening the scoring in the 19th minute as Hakim Ziyech whipped in a quality free kick from the edge of the box towards the back posy, picking out Younes Belhanda but he couldn’t keep his volley down.
It was proving to be a tight affair with both sides struggling to create any clear-cut openings in the opening 30 minutes.
Bafana’s talisman Tau provided his side’s only real opening in the first stanza. The forward found space outside the box and let fly a cracking curling shot, but to his dismay it flew inches wide.
It was 0-0 at the break, with both teams fighting hard in what was a tight tactical battle.
Baxter’s charges looked to take control of the game with an early second-half goal and almost got it after just three minutes when Thamsanqa Mkhize hit a first-time low strike that narrowly missed the upright.
It started to look as though Bafana were happy to settle for a draw and they were given a huge scare just after the hour mark when Morocco’s Achraf Hakimi came close as his fantastic curling effort thundered off the crossbar.
Bafana looked to have secured the draw but suffered a late heartbreak as Morocco netted the winner in injury time. A free kick was whipped into the box and Hlompho Kekana failed to clear his lines with a header falling right at the feet of Boussoufa, who struck a powerful shot into the top corner.
Morocco top the group while South Africa will have to wait and hope that results go their way if they are to qualify as one of the four best third-placed teams with three points.
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