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The Atlas Lions

Les Lions de l'Atlas

Latest News of The Atlas Lions

By The Atlas Lions, Nov 14 2018 12:05PM

( Africa Cup of Nations 2019 hosts Cameroon will have a test of their mettle when they take on Morocco in a qualifier at the Stade Mohamed V in Casablanca on Friday, 16 November 2018, kick-off at 21h00 CAT.

Morocco come into the match placed second on the Group B log with seven points, just one behind leaders Cameroon. Third-placed Malawi are three points behind the Atlas Lions, while Comoros lie at the foot of the table with two points.

The North African heavyweights were last in action in October, claiming four points from their back-to-back matches against Comoros. The Atlas Lions won 1-0 at home before drawing the return leg 2-2.

Cameroon recorded similar results last month in their double-header with Malawi. The Indomitable Lions won 1-0 at home and drew 0-0 in the away match.

While Cameroon’s place in the 2019 finals is already assured (due to their status of hosts), Morocco will be hoping to secure their 17th AFCON tournament appearance. The Atlas Lions will book their ticket if they defeat Cameroon and Malawi fail to win away to Comoros in the first match on Saturday (which will be played in Moroni).

Morocco coach Herve Renard continues to scour for new talent and has called Dutch-born AZ Alkmaar attacker Oussama Idrissi for the match (though it remains to be seen whether the player will switch his international allegiance), adding to an already talented squad which features stars such as Hakim Ziyech, Youssef En-Nesyri and Sofiane Boufal.

Cameroon coach Clarence Seedorf will hope for a win in Casablanca to convince his critics, and he has named a strong squad which includes a recall for Arnaud Djoum, though key figures such as Nicolas N’Koulou and Vincent Aboubakar are notable absentees.

In head-to-head stats, Morocco and Cameroon have met in 11 previous matches according to FIFA’s statistics database. The Indomitable Lions boast an unbeaten record in the rivalry (six wins and five draws) and beat the Atlas Lions 1-0 in Yaounde when the teams met in the first round of group stage qualifiers back in June 2017.

By The Atlas Lions, Nov 13 2018 01:40PM

Former Morocco goalkeeper Abdel-Latif Iraki has stated that he put up his playing gloves for sale after becoming unemployed and going poor.

The Committee of Ethics in the Royal Moroccan Football Federation had decided to ban Iraki for three years over match fixing charges during his time at Moroccan club SCC Mohammédia.

The goalkeeper took to Facebook to announce that he is setting his gloves up for sale as he is currently unemployed

“I am going through tough conditions with my family. I became unemployed overnight and my economical problems forced me to sell my gloves,” Iraki told Al Jarida 24 newspaper.

“I asked for help from the FRMF president but his recent commitments prevented me from meeting him.”

Iraki was Morocco’s goalkeeper in the 1990s during the era of late French manager Henri Michel.

By The Atlas Lions, Nov 12 2018 11:17AM

“We wanted to put in a good performance and we did that tonight”

Medhi Benatia was a key component of the Juventus defence that kept a clean sheet in the visit to Milan on Sunday evening. His handball did lead to the penalty that was squandered by Gonzalo Higuain in the first half but the defender barely put a foot wrong during the match.

“I’m glad about the performance and the win,” he said after the game.

“It was nice to be part of such a prestigious fixture. Yesterday I was getting a massage with Cristiano [Ronaldo] and [Daniele] Rugani and I saw it being said on TV that I often mess up in big games, so I wanted to show that I can be relied upon.

“It was important for us to bounce back after the Manchester United match. We wanted to put in a good performance and we did that tonight. Playing against Higuain, a good friend of mine, was an added incentive.”

By The Atlas Lions, Nov 12 2018 09:48AM

Achraf Hakimi vs Bayern Munich:

All eyes were glued on “Der Klassiker” as the blockbuster match up in the Bundesliga. Borussia Dortmund have started the season on fire, and going into the match led Bayern Munich by four points at the top of the table. Lucien Farve has done a nice job rotating the full backs and found himself with a selection headache heading into the match. Four quality options for two spots: Achraf, Schmelzer, Guerro, and Piszczek. Of those four, Achraf seems to be the undisputed starter and his versatility has only aided his ability to gobble up minutes, easily interchanging between left and right back. Against Bayern, Achraf was deployed as a left back— the same position that saw him produce a hat trick of assists against Atletico Madrid.

The first half, Borussia Dortmund were underwhelming with Lucien Farve making the strange decision to start Mario Gotze as a false nine and give Julien Weigl the nod over Delaney, who has started the season spectacularly. Bayern dominated possession in the opening half, but Dortmund found their way through Kovac’s men via the counter on a number of occasions. Defensively, Bayern Munich were a shambles all night long. Though, with Bayern’s strong possession game, Achraf had to be tuned in defensively. Franck Ribery was having a field day playing against Piszczek, which meant Achraf had to be prepared to defend from the weak side. This season, that has been one of Achraf’s best attributes; time and time again Achraf was well positioned on the weak side to intercept a cross or track an incisive run. Given their early dominance, Bayern did find a way to goal. Robert Lewandowski scored a free diving header after Serge Gnarby was given too much time and space by Achraf to curl in a cross, while young center back, Dan Axel-Zagadou, was caught ball watching, rather than tracking Lewandowski who had peeled off him to create separation and nod the ball home.

It must have been some team talk at half-time from Lucien Farve, as Dortmund shed their reserved style and attacked Bayern from all fronts. Achraf, who was quiet on the offensive end in the first half, exploded into life in the second half. He constantly bombed down the flank to provide an attacking option for his teammates and help fuel a counter attack with his blazing speed. Unlike Marcelo, Achraf has the speed and the engine to get back and cover the space he leaves behind making him less of a liability defensively, while still being able to maintain the same attacking mindset. Ultimately, Dortmund roared back in the second half, scoring three goal and winning what was a thoroughly entertaining match by a 3-2 score line.

Stats via WhoScored:

Key Passes: 2

Passes: 42 with 71.4% completion rate

Shots: 1

Tackles: 4 (joint top on team)

Clearances: 4

Aerial Duels Won: 2

Touches: 75 (3rd most on team)

By The Atlas Lions, Nov 12 2018 08:46AM

The Morocco international extended his goalscoring run in the Dutch Eredivisie with an effort at the Van Donge & De Roo Stadion

Hakim Ziyech contributed a goal and an assist as Ajax thrashed Excelsior 7-1 on Sunday.

The 25-year-old maintained his fine form for the Johan Cruyff Arena outfit with his fifth goal in his last six league outings.

In the 79th minute, the Atlas Lions’ playmaker benefitted from Nicolas Tagliafico's assist to register his seventh league goal of the season before setting David Neres up for Ajax's last goal in the encounter.

Ziyech, Noussair Mazraoui and Andre Onana who made Goal Africa Team of the Month for October were on parade for Erik ten Hag's men as they help extend the unbeaten run to 11 games across all competitions.

Ajax, placed second in the Dutch top-flight standings, continue to pile pressure on leaders PSV.

By The Atlas Lions, Nov 10 2018 08:24PM

AC Milan have reportedly started to consider joining the race to sign Juventus defender Mehdi Benatia.

The 31-year-old has spent the last three years representing the Italian champions, but the centre-back has been restricted to just five appearances in Serie A and the Champions League this season.

That has allegedly resulted in interest from Manchester United and Arsenal - who could be in the market for a new defender in January - but according to Sport Mediaset, Milan are also monitoring the situation.

Gennaro Gattuso's side require a replacement for the injured Mattia Caldara, and that could see a loan bid made for Morocco international Benatia.

The report suggests that Milan would have to commit to paying a €15m (£13.1m) fee for a permanent transfer at the end of the season.

Benatia has also played for Udinese and Roma in Italy's top flight, while three years were spent contracted to Bayern Munich.

By The Atlas Lions, Nov 9 2018 08:02AM

The Belgian outfit were set for a win courtesy the Morocco international's early opener but for a late pair of strikes

Mehdi Carcela scored as Standard Liege were defeated 2-1 by Krasnodar in Thursday's Europa League tie.

Liege started brightly with Carcela giving them a lead courtesy his 19th-minute strike.

However, when it looked like they would leave Russia with a victory, late strikes from Magomed-Shapi Suleymanov and Wanderson turned their fortunes around.

The goal was Carcela's fourth of the season and their loss to Murad Musayev’s men meant they remain unmoved in third place, with six points from four Group J games.

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