Morocco-Angolan stalemate

Angola and Morocco produced the second stalemate of a frustrating opening day at the Africa Cup of Nations.

There were more opportunities in the second Group A game of the day, but it ,too, ended in stalemate.

It had started much brighter than the opening goalless draw between hosts South Africa and Cape Verde.

The Atlas Lions were forced to begin their campaign without inspirational playmaker Younes Belhanda in the starting line-up, after he had struggled in the build-up with an adductor injury, but would be forced into introducing the influential Montpellier man in the second half.

He nearly forced a winner as he dribbled through the Angolan defence, but dragged narrowly wide at the near post.

Angola had the first real attempt on target, as Mingo Bille stung Lamyaghri's fingertips with a well-hit low drive.

Morocco quickly attempted to stamp their authority on the game, with Abdelaziz Barrada and Liverpool winger Oussama Assaidi looking to force the play in the Angolan half.

It was a lively first quarter for the Moroccans, who sought to create opportunities with every passage of play and they went close through Assaidi, who jinked inside the box, only to blaze over.

The Palancas Negras' early attempts to get a foothold in the game were laboured, as they struggled to link up midfield and attack, and failed to commit numbers forward on the break.

Moroccan chances then dried up as Angola improved as the first half went on.

Angolan debutant Guilherme Afonso nearly punished Morocco keeper Nadir Lamyaghri's fumble, only to lob wide.

Then in the second half Morocco had that Belhanda chance.

Morocco coach Rachid Taoussi said: "We virtually monopolised the first half. We created lots of chances but lacked success."

"We were not up against a phantom side - they have got strong strikers and woke up in the second half."

It's a missed opportunity for both teams to go top of a group that is definitely up for grabs.

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