On an awful pitch in Tunisia, Morocco managed to keep their unbeaten run against their nemesis.
The Atlas Lions rounded off the year of 2018 in style as they beat Tunisia 1-0 away from home. This was their first ever victory in Radès after devastating defeats in previous years. A shocking surface made it hard for Renard’s men to find their feet in the beginning and Tunisia did well to press them high up the pitch.
But as soon as Fayçal Fajr and Youssef Aït Bennasser started to take responsiblity in the middle, we took control of the game. Medhi Benatia and Romain Saiss were rock-solid in defense and kept Tunisia quiet. Minutes before the break, it was the captain who fired a rocket from distance after Abdelilah Hafidi was fouled on the middle of our opponent’s half. Youssef En-Nesyri was aware of the rebound and smashed home his sixth international goal.
After the break, we looked very confident and were even able to play out from the back despite Tunisia trying to mark our defenders. There was no real chances for either side, but when the referee finally blew his whistle, it was a totally deserved score-line.
Here is our player analysis with ratings (1-10):
Didn’t have much to do, but almost cost us a goal when he mistimed a cross towards the end. Still not convinced with his distribution, which almost caused some trouble at times.
Nabil Dirar (4)
Had a better outing this time compared to the dreadful half against Comoros. Managed to put together some good combinations on the right side, but nowhere near the offensive contributions we’ve become used to with Hakimi and Mazraoui. Hopefully he can find a new club in January to get some much needed minutes under his belt.
Medhi Benatia (6)
Solid display again from the captain. Won all of his challenges and kept the Tunisian players quiet. Also got an indirect assist when his free-kick was parried by the goalkeeper before En-Nesyri scored. Taken off at half-time.
Romain Saïss (8 MOTM)
There’s no doubt in my mind. Saïss has to start for this team, regardless of how little he plays for Wolves. His diagonal passes over to the right side are a joy to watch and he’s ability to read the game is still excellent. Great game.
Oualid El Hajjam (5)
Probably one of the best full-backs we have defensively and did a good job keeping the left side for Tunisia at bay. However, Boufal did not get any help what so ever when we had the ball, which is the downside with El Hajjam.
Fayçal Fajr (6)
Has quickly become one of Renard’s most trusted men. Started once again and was able to see a lot of the ball after a poor start to the game. Started a brawl after the game as he unnecessarily pushed a Tunisian.
Youssef Aït Bennasser (7)
The best game he’s had with the national team in my opinion. Started off a little nervously on the awful pitch, but quickly gained confidence and as the game went on, he dictated the play and dominated the game for long periods.
Nordin Amrabat (3)
Poor showing from the World Cup hero. Looked frustrated from the second the game started and constantly shouted at the referee, both when he made fouls and was fouled himself. Taken off with 15 minutes to go and it should probably have happened sooner.
Abdelilah Hafidi (5)
Wasn’t able to find too much space in his offensive midfield position. Did well the few times he got the ball and provoked the free-kick which eventually led to the goal. Brought off at half-time.
Sofiane Boufal (6)
I like this new, hard-working Boufal. Helped out El Hajjam defensively and was our biggest threat on the ball. Was not the easiest of tasks on that pitch, but he did well.
Youssef En-Nesyri (5)
The Mohammed VI Academy product scored his 6th international goal in only 22 games, which is very impressive for a player who is still only 21 years of age. Besides the goal, it was mainly just a lot of pointless running from the Leganés striker. Needs to work on timing his movement and find out when to run and when to rest.
Marouane Da Costa (6)
This game suited Da Costa a lot more. Lots of aerial challenges on a bad pitch where he could slam the ball as far as he could. Happy to see him do well, after performing for months in Turkey.
Walid Azaro (4)
Had to double-check after 15 minutes of the second half to see if he had actually been subbed on. Managed to fire off a few shots, but barely visible overall.
Achraf Hakimi (N/A)
Not enough time to make an impact.
Noussair Mazraoui (N/A)
Came on with few minutes to go.
Karim El Ahmadi (N/A)
International game number 60. Congratulations!