• Yahya Jabrane first half winner ruined Togo’s debut at the 2020 African Nations Football Championship.
By Beng Emmanuel
Defending champions Morocco began their title defense with a 1-0 win against debutants Togo in their opening group C fixture of the 2020 CHAN at the Reunification Stadium in Douala.
Yahya Jabrane scored the winner from the spot to enable the Intermediary Atlas of Morocco make a winning start in the 2020 CHAN against a resolute Togolese side.
Morocco dominated possession in the first half and came close to obtaining an early lead when Walid El Karti’s powerful header from Soufiane Rahimi free-kick from the edge of the Togo defence went slightly off target.
Abdoul Moubarak almost caused Togo to concede from his blunder but Ayoub-El Kaabi-who’s impact was so minimal during the encounter struggled with no success to cease the ball from the keeper’s feet.
Togo responded with an inglorious effort from Djalilou Madjedje who despite being unmarked lacked composure to hit target.
Morocco finally found the net after Yahya Jabrane converted a penalty when he was brought down after a challenge on him. He initially missed his first kick but scored from a re-take after the referees rightly ruled out Abdoul Moubarak save who came off the line before the penalty was taken.
El Kaabi missed the chance to tap-in from AbdelKarim Baadi inch perfect right cross to open his goal account and double advantage for his side although the claimed a first half lead.
Yahya Jabrane came close to scoring a brace when he ran into a right cross and swept it straight Togo’s keeper who was forced to make two saves to prevent another goal. Morocco battled to score a second in the second half but their approach rarely threatened Togo.
The 2018 Champions-who became the first host nation to win the tournament were fortunate to survive a flurry of late pressure from Togo although they struggled to spark during the tie. Anas Zniti denied Togo a late equalizer while EL Kaabi missed another opportunity to seal a win deep into extra-time.
Morocco temporarily lead group C while waiting for the results from the Rwanda and Uganda clash.
They are the fourth nation to grab a win in the CHAN after host Cameroon, Mali, and DR Congo. Their next game is against Rwanda.
Morocco 1-0 Togo
[Yahya Jabrane 27min-Penalty)
Man of the Match Award:
Soufiane Rahimi (Morocco)