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Last Updated: Saturday, 28 January 2006, 19:18 GMT
Libya 0-0 Morocco
By James Copnall
BBC Sport, Cairo

Morocco's Youssef Hadji (left) battles with Libya's Nader Tarhuni

Morocco crashed out of the African Cup of Nations thanks to a weakness that has hurt them all tournament - an inability to score goals.

The Atlas Lions' scoreless draw with Libya was ultimately of no significance, as Egypt's win over Ivory Coast ensured the hosts, and not Morocco, qualified alongside Ivory Coast from Group A.

However the Moroccans did not score once in their three group games, and their failure to step their game up above the pedestrian is something that must be of long term concern.

Knowing they needed to both win and boost their goal difference if they were to qualify, Morocco brought in an extra attacking player, Hicham Aboucherouane.

Libya's Croatian boss, Ilija Loncarevic, made three changes from the side that lost 2-1 to Ivory Coast, including bringing goalkeeper Luis de Agustini back from suspension.

It was Libya who had the first chance, Nader Kara slicing wide from his captain Tarek El Taib's delightful through ball.

Morocco dominated the early play, though, and the diminutive midfielder Mohamed Yaacoubi nearly opened the scoring, but his driven shot rebounded off the post.

The Atlas Lions found it difficult to create truly inviting chances, and for Libya El Taib gave periodic reminders of his ability to threaten on the break.

The first half meandered to a close with Morocco, despite their need for a big win, unable to summon much urgency or direction.

Neither coach made changes at the half, but the Atlas Lions did at least begin to move with more purpose.

Youssef Hadji, playing wide on the right in Morocco's 4-3-3 formation, sent a header looping over the bar from a Yaacoubi cross.

Soon afterwards the Morocco coach Mohammed Fakhir made his first change, sending on the striker Ali Boussaboun for the Lille winger Hicham Aboucherouane.

The Libyan defender Omar Daoud had a good opportunity to give his side a surprise lead, but he headed El Taib's precise corner well over the bar.

A crowd of Egyptian soldiers bussed in to fill up the empty seats reserved the biggest cheer of the night for the news that Egypt had taken the lead against Ivory Coast in the other Group A game.

Substitute Ali Boussaboun did send a waspish shot in for Morocco in the dying moments, but de Agustini dealt with it comfortably.


SEE ALSO
Fixtures, results and tables
17 Jan 06 |  African
Egypt 2006: Venues guide
06 Dec 05 |  African


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