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Bafana Afcon hopes hang in the balance after Morocco defeat

Bafana Bafana's hope of reaching the knockout stages of the Africa Cup of Nations is out of their hands, after losing 1-0 to Morocco on Monday.

Bafana Bafana members pictured at their 2019 Africa Cup of Nations games against Morocco on 1 July 2019. Picture: @BafanaBafana/Twitter.

JOHANNESBURG - Bafana Bafana's hopes of reaching the knockout stages of the Africa Cup of Nations is out of their hands, after losing 1-0 to Morocco on Monday.

The match got off to a tentative start, with neither side creating too many goal scoring opportunities. It was a physical encounter, especially in the midfield with both sides trying to stifle their opponents.

As a result, shots at goals were few and far between, with the first shot on target coming from Morocco in the 27th minute.

South Africa's best chance of the half came in the 34th minute, as Percy Tau worked some space on the edge of the box, his curling effort going narrowly wide of the upright.

That was the last meaningful action of the opening 45 minutes, as the sides went into the break, locked at 0-0 having registered just one shot on target between them.

The start to the second-half was a bit more lively than the first, with Bafana trying to move the ball quicker in attack.

Thamsanqa Mkhize came close for his side, hitting the side netting after the ball broke to him on the edge of the box.

In response, Morocco began to dominate possession and were able to test the South African defence with a number of dangerous crosses into the box.

The Atlas Lions almost made that pressure tell moments later with Achraf Hakimi, unleashing a thunderous effort that smashed into the crossbar.

A lucky escape for Bafana, and they would receive another moment's later as En-Nesyri rounded Williams in goal but was unable to finish from an awkward angle. En-Nesyri would have another chance soon after that but headed straight at Ronwen Williams from close range.

Morocco would eventually break the deadlock. Skipper Mbark Moussoufa found the back of the net after a wide free kick was not dealt with by the defence.

The other game in Group D saw Ivory Coast beat Namibia 4-1 to ensure South Africa finish in third place.

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