Morocco kick-started their Africa Cup of Nations campaign on a winning note, beating the Brave Warriors of Namibia 1-0 in an unconvincing display in day three of the tournament in Egypt.
The Brave Warriors were unlucky as Itamunua Keimuine condeded an 88th-minute own goal, to give the Atlas Lions three points, despite struggling for real chances through the match.
It was a scrappy start for the two sides, with Namibia happy to sit back and absorb the pressure while trying to hit their opponents with quick counter attacks.
The Atlas Lion’s first real effort came in the 13th minute, with Dirar’s cracking effort from range forcing Loydt Kazapua to tip over the crossbar.
Namibia hit back four minutes later, this time captain Ronald Ketjijere releasing a bullet from distance, which fizzled well over.
Morocco’s penalty shout in the 36th minute fell on deaf ears as the referee waved play on after Amribat tangled with Horaeb inside the box.
There was little action after that as the referee blew his halftime whistle with both teams tied at 0-0.
On resumption, Morocco came close to scoring three minutes after the restart, as Ryan Nyambe cleared rather luckily over his own bar, with En-Nesyri unable to apply the finishing touch on a cross in front of him.
All the good and promising moves originated from Ziyech, with the Ajax star taking all free kicks and trying to shoot from distance.
It was no surprise when he danced to the edge of the area in the 72nd minute and fired in a shot that deflected, forcing Kazapua to stick a leg out against his direction of travel to make the initial save.
Morocco finally found the breakthrough in the 89th minute when Ziyech’s curling freekick was met by Keiumuine, who bundled the ball into his own net with pressure from Saiss.
It was a painful loss to the Warriors who had stifled out the fancied Morocco, who will need to review their performance if they want to advance further in the tournament.