After a hectic first knockout round, Afcon 2021 has reached the last-eight, pitting Egypt and Morocco up against each other for a place in the penultimate round to take on one of Gambia or hosts Cameroon. With reigning champions Algeria already eliminated, both of these nations will fancy their chances of going all the way.
Egypt made a stuttering start to the groups, suffering a curtain-raising 1-0 reversal at the hands of Nigeria, but Carlos Queiroz’s Pharaohs recovered to win their remaining two games by an identical 1-0 scoreline, booking their ticket to the knockouts in the process, which they have thus far navigated with merit.
A hard-thought, almost psychological battle between Egypt and Ivory Coast in the round of 16 saw the former progress after a tense penalty shootout, in which Mohamed Salah netted the decisive spot kick. The Liverpool man will be desperate to win major honours with Egypt, but Morocco will be trying everything in their power to prolong his trophy drought at international level.
Vahid Halilhodzic’s Atlas Lions made relative light work of Group C, going unbeaten and winning two games before seeing off Malawi in the round of 16. Having buckled in the quarter-finals two tournaments ago — against Egypt no less — Morocco will be determinate to banish past ghosts and move a step closer to winning a first trophy since 1976.
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Egypt vs Morocco: Match Stats
Quite incredibly, this fixture has been played out 14 times, and only once has it finished with over 2.5 goals which, incidentally, was the first competitive meeting back in the 1976 version of Afcon. That, of course, was the year Morocco won their first and only Afcon trophy, sealing silverware in Ethiopia. Since then, the form book is littered with 2-0s, 1-0s, 1-1s and five 0-0s. Of course, Egypt haven’t exactly been prolific this year, with all three of their group games finishing 1-0 and then playing out a goalless draw with Ivory Coast (winning 5-4 on penalties), so this may be another cagey affair where one goal could swing it.
30 Jun 2001 – Morocco 1-0 Egpyt – World Cup Qualifier
28 Jan 2001 – Egpyt 0-0 Morocco – World Cup Qualifier
17 Feb 1998 – Morocco 1-0 Egpyt – AFCON
Sunday’s fixture is an exact replica of Afcon 2017, where these two nations met in the quarter-finals in Gabon. The match was determined by Kahraba, whose 88th-minute effort booked Egypt a ticket to the semis, where they beat Burkina Faso before losing to Cameroon in the final.