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Morocco, Mali look for first Group C wins

RABAT, AUG 29 (DNA) – Morocco and Mali will both be looking for their first wins in Group C of the 2018 World Cup qualifiers when they meet at Stade Moulay Abdellah in Rabat on Friday night, kick-off at 10pm CAT.

Morocco have played to two draws in their campaign thus far, holding Gabon 0-0 away before playing out a stalemate at home to group leaders Ivory Coast. The North Africans are second on the standing on two points, two behind the Elephants.

Mali, meanwhile, are bottom of the standings on one point. They lost their opener 3-1 away to Ivory Coast and could only manage a goalless stalemate at home to Gabon in their second outing.

The Eagles will be desperate to pick up a positive result against the Atlas Lions and keep alive their hopes of reaching the World Cup finals for the first time. Yet coach Alain Giresse is wary of the threat posed by Morocco.

“[Morocco] is a good team, the players are experienced and have played for big clubs. They rely on a well-oiled collective and use a variable system,” the Mali coach told the press.

The Frenchman added, “We have to get back on our feet, because the two matches that are waiting for Mali are very important.

“We will take care not to make the same mistakes as the opening game against the Elephants.

“We will have to be supportive and very disciplined tactically because in Bouaké we played with three or four youngsters and it was very difficult.”

Giresse’s counterpart is compatriot Herve Renard, who has won a major battle in convincing experienced defender Mehdi Benatia to return to the national team set-up.=DNA


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