South Africa are staring at an Africa Cup of Nations exit following a late 1-0 loss to Morocco in their final Group D game on Monday.
Bafana Bafana needed a win to guarantee their place in the last 16 but were beaten thanks to Moubarak Boussoufa’s strike, allowing Ivory Coast to progress in second place in their stead thanks to a 4-1 defeat of Namibia.
Morocco were already sure of a place in the next round and always looked the more likely to find a breakthrough, with Achraf Hakimi rattling the crossbar in the second half before Boussoufa’s 90th-minute goal.
They progress as group winners with nine points, while South Africa will have to wait to see if they have done enough to advance as one of the four best third-placed teams.
Younes Belhanda came close to an opener in a dour first half in which South Africa offered little sign of scoring what would have been just their second goal of the tournament.
Thamsanqa Mkhize dragged a shot narrowly wide in a positive start to the second half, but it was Morocco who began to look more likely to score even after news of Ivory Coast’s two-goal lead over Namibia must have begun to filter through.
Achraf was inches from a spectacular opener, his thunderous strike from 25 yards smashing off the underside of the crossbar and bouncing clear, before Youssef En-Nesyri failed to convert after rounding goalkeeper Ronwen Williams.
South Africa applied some late pressure to no avail and were undone when Boussoufa smashed a half-volley into the top-right corner after Stuart Baxter’s men failed to clear their lines.
Goal! Mbark Boussoufa fires home to surely hand Morocco the win!
Chance! Achraf Hakim rattles the crossbar!
Chance! Percy Tau curls a shot just wide!
Peep! Game time in Cairo!
Now for Morocco, changes for the Atlas Lions. Munir Mohand Mohamedi comes in goal for Yassine Bounou. Manuel da Costa & Noussair Mazraoui come in at the back, Younès Belhanda comes in for Hakim Ziyech.
Team news time! South Africa need a result today, Bongani Zungu the goalscorer against Namibia starts, whilst Strasbourg striker Lebo Mothiba leads the line.
It’s nearly game time in Cairo (Team news to follow) Both sides are all set and ready to go! Can Morocco maintain their perfect start to the tournament?
So here we go! It’s a big match in group D with two powerhouses of the African game, who will come out on top? The South Africans have arrived in style!
Good evening! Welcome to the live updates from the AFCON, as South Africa take on Morocco in Cairo. Morocco only needs a point to top Group D, whilst Banafa Banafa needs a positive result to reach the round of sixteen. As ever, join me for all the latest updates, team news and yes the goals from the game via our Live Blog.