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FIFA World Cup Qualifying Preview: Morocco v Gambia

Morocco need a win against struggling Gambia on Saturday to stay alive in Group C of CAF World Cup qualifying.

Rachid Taoussi’s men are unlikely to reach the third round of qualifying in Africa, but a win would at least put some pressure on group leaders Ivory Coast.

Only the winners of each group will advance to the next round and Morocco sit third – five points behind top spot – with two matches remaining.

A victory over Gambia, who are bottom and winless, would make Ivory Coast nervous ahead of their trip to Tanzania on Sunday.

Morocco may look back to their opening game in Group C as the reason they find themselves unlikely to qualify for Brazil 2014.

They drew 1-1 against Gambia in Bakau, which remains the only point Luciano Mancini’s men have earned this stage.

Mancini has never led Gambia to a win, their last victory coming in August 2011 with a 3-0 win over Congo.

Gambia have conceded 10 goals in their past four matches without netting one and they are huge outsiders heading to the Stade de Marrakech.

Morocco’s squad is inexperienced and with four goals, Granada forward Youssef El-Arabi is their leading goalscorer.

Goalkeeper Nadir Lamyaghri, 37, will lead the way and they will need good a good performance from Younes Belhanda.

The Montpellier winger needs to provide the creativity in a Morocco squad which is without Arsenal striker Marouane Chamakh.

Goals have been a problem for Morocco in the second round having netted six times in their fourth matches.

El-Arabi has scored two of those and Houssine Kharja, the Al-Arabi midfielder, has also struck twice.

Given Gambia’s struggles and Morocco’s desperate circumstances, Taoussi’s side should be too good and are likely to stay alive in qualifying.

Thu 13 June, 2013
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