Egypt and Morocco will meet in the third and penultimate quarter-final at the 2021 Africa Cup in Cameroon. Here, the teams ranked 28th and 45th in the FIFA rankings will compete. Moreover, this match will pit the number two and number six on the continent against each other.
Egypt beat 56th-ranked Côte d’Ivoire in the round of sixteen on 26 January. Carlos Queiroz’s side did not celebrate until the penalty shoot-out, but they put in their best performance at the AFCON. Earlier, the Pharaohs finished second in Group D behind 36th-ranked Nigeria.
One day before, Morocco defeated 129th-ranked surprise team Malawi 2-1 and the Lions of the Atlas achieved their 15th win in 17 international matches. Vahid Halilhodžić’s team previously the first in Group C ahead of Gabon, who forced them to a 2-2. The match will take place at the Stade Omnisport Ahmadou Ahidjo in the capital Yaoundé.
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What speaks for Egypt?
- Did not concede a goal in their last three appearances so far
- Mohamed Salah can single-handedly decide a game at any time
- Two weaker teams, Gabon, and Malawi, scored against the Lions of the Atlas
What speaks for Morocco?
- Won 15 of their last 17 internationals so far
- Their opponents suffered their second defeat in three games in their first match against Nigeria
- The Pharaohs convinced at the Africa Cup only in the round of sixteen
- Won in the round of sixteen after regular time and have one more day at their disposal
Our betting tip:
- Draw No Bet Morocco
- Bookmaker: Betway
- Odds: 1.65
Expert analysis Egypt
Egypt suffered a 0-1 defeat to Nigeria on matchday one in Group D. The Super Eagles may be the upper neighbour in the ranking of national teams on the continent, but they came into the tournament after a suboptimal preparation. Moreover, they were less convincing than the Pharaohs last year.
The Egyptian national team, with Portugal’s Carlos Queiroz replacing Hossam El Badry in September, responded to their second defeat in three winless appearances. Thus, they managed to finish second in Group D behind Nigeria. However, the Pharaohs failed to really convince in 1-0 victories over Guinea-Bissau as well as Sudan.
Liverpool FC’s Mohamed Salah and Mohamed Abdel Monem, who is under contract to Future in the Egyptian Premier League, took the chestnuts out of the fire. We expected better performances against 106th and 125th in the FIFA rankings.
Thereafter, Egypt’s first convincing appearance at AFCON 2021 arrived on 26 January in the round of sixteen against Côte d’Ivoire. Here, after a 0-0, the Pharaohs prevailed against the world number 56 only after a penalty shoot-out in Douala. The other side of the coin is that they did not concede a goal against one of the best teams in the group stage.
But Queiroz will have to do without Mohamed El Shenawy in the Egypt vs. Morocco quarter-final. The goalkeeper, who brought with Al Ahly their second consecutive CAF Champions League title to Egypt last year, suffered an injury against the Ivorians. His club-mate Hamdi Fathi and Aston Villa’s Trezeguet in doubt.
Expert analysis Morocco
Morocco beat Malawi 2-1 at the same stadium in Yaoundé on 25 January. However, the underdogs, who occupy the 129th place in the FIFA rankings, made a lightning start and took the lead in the seventh minute.
It was only just before the break that the Lions of Atlas equalized thanks to Sevilla FC’s Youssef En-Nesyri. Then another star, Paris Saint-Germain’s Achraf Hakimi, scored the winning goal in the 70th minute. Earlier, the right-back rescued a point against Gabon on the final day of Group C. Here, he netted against the 89th-ranked team in the world in the 84th minute for the 2-2.
This was the third time in as many group matches that the Lions of the Atlas scored a goal in the last ten minutes. In a 1-0 win over 52nd-placed Ghana, SCO Angers’ Sofiane Boufal netted in the 83rd minute. Then Zakaria Aboukhlal sealed the victory in a 2-0 over the world’s number 132 Comoros in the 89th minute. That also contributed to the fact that Morocco won 15 of their last 17 international matches so far.
From today’s perspective, Vahid Halilhodžić will have to make do without Ilias Chair. The attacking midfielder, who earns his money in the English Championship with Queens Park Rangers, has been unlucky so far at the Africa Cup. He suffered an injury in his only appearance so far against Gabon and was already out for the round of sixteen against Malawi.
Head-to-head comparison Egypt – Morocco
The last time Egypt vs Morocco faced each other was in the qualifiers for the 2018 African Nations Championship. As we all know, only players who are under contract in their home country are allowed to play there. Anyway, the Pharaohs drew 1-1 at home and lost 1-3 away against the Lions of the Atlas in August 2017. Before that, Egypt prevailed 1-0 in Gabon at the Africa Cup in January of the same year.
Our betting tip and the best odds
Morocco won 15 of their last 17 international matches and Egypt suffered their second defeat in three games on the first matchday at the Africa Cup. So, at first glance, almost everything would speak in favour of the Lions of the Atlas.
However, every victory has its own genesis. Against Ghana, the decisive goal came in the final phase. After that, the Lions of the Atlas only sealed the victory against the Comoros right before the final whistle. Against Gabon, the equalizer came in the 84th minute, and Morocco also had a tougher time than expected against Malawi.
Egypt only convinced in the round of sixteen against Côte d’Ivoire. Furthermore, they celebrated a day after their quarter-final opponents and after the penalty shoot-out. All in all, we think Draw No Bets are the most sensible option.
Egypt vs. Morocco – betting tip: Draw No Bet Morocco, odds 1.65 at bookmaker Betway