AFCON 2024 Matchday 9 roundup: Morocco held, Zambia struggle, South Africa show their class

The first game of matchday nine at the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON 2024) was the Group F clash between tournament favourites Morocco and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The Atlas Lions were quick off the blocks, with Yousef El Neysri almost scoring in the first few minutes of the game with a brilliant header that was saved by the DR Congo goalkeeper Lionel Mpasi, who parried it for a corner kick.

The World Cup semi-finalists capitalized on the resultant corner kick. Hakim Ziyech swung in the corner, which missed heads in the box, but Ashraf Hakimi was quicker to react and hit a low shot into the net to give his side the lead in the sixth minute.

AFCON 2024
Photo by Icon Sport

DR Congo had the opportunity to level the scores from the spot in the 41st minute after VAR showed Morocco defender Selim Amallah had handled a cross into the box by Gael Kakuta.

Cedric Bakambu stepped up but missed the chance to tie the game as his low shot hit the post and went out.

Morocco held on until half-time, but the Leopards roared back in the second half to get the equalizer and deservedly so.

Two substitutes, Meshack Elia and Silas Katompa, combined to get DR Congo on level terms.

After a period of sustained pressure from DR Congo, Morocco conceded as Elia provided the assist to Katompa to score past Yassine Bono, earning his side a share of the spoils as the game ended 1-1.

Taifa Stars looking to make history at AFCON 2024

Tanzania and Zambia were up next in Group F with both teams coming into the game with contrasting results from the first group games.

The Chipolopolo were held to a 1-1 draw by Congo DR while Tanzania received a 3-0 hammering at the hands of Morocco.

Simon Mvusa put the Tanzanians ahead in the 11th as the Taifa Stars went in search of their first win in the Africa Cup of Nations in almost 30 years.

AFCON 2024
Photo by Icon Sport

They had a ray of light in that regard when Zambian defender Rodrick Kabwe received a second yellow card just before half-time for a rash challenge and was sent off to reduce his side to 10 men.

Zambia didn’t give up and kept fighting in the second half even though Tanzania, through Ally Samatta, should have been more clinical in front of goal.

The equaliser came with just two minutes left in the game when Chama Chota swung in a corner and Patson Daka leapt highest to head into the net past a helpless Aishi Manula in the Tanzanian goal to share the points.

In Group E, South Africa made light work of neigbours Namibia with a comprehensive 4-0 win.

Percy Tau scored from the spot in the 14th minute to put his side ahead after a VAR check for a handball, and then a brace by Themba Zwane in the 25th and 40th minutes put Bafana Bafana three goals up at the break.

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Photo by Icon Sport

It was a one-way street for most of the match, with South Africa asserting its domination despite Namibia's feeble attempt to put some respect on the scoreline.

The domination was complete when substitute Thapelo Maseko found the back of the net in the 75th minute from an assist by two-goal hero Themba Zwane to complete a memorable win for the South Africans.

Highlight of the day

South Africa's masterclass against Namibia and Themba Zwane's well-taken brace will be spoken about for a long time to come. Zwane was also awarded the Man of the Match award for his performance and well-taken goals against the Brave Warriors.

What next at AFCON 2024 Day 10?

Matchday 10 of the Africa Cup of Nations comes underway on Monday with the last round of games in Group A.

Hosts Ivory Coast take on Equatorial Guinea who are top of the table while Nigeria will square up to Guinea-Bissau who are bottom of the group.

In Group B, it will be Cape Verde who have already qualified for the Round of 16 against Egypt while Ghana will face Mozambique.

All the games in a particular group will be played simultaneously.

AFCON 2024 Matchday 9 roundup: Morocco held, Zambia struggle, South Africa show their class
Andrew Randa

Andrew Randa is a seasoned Africa sports journalist, and a former Media Officer for Nigeria's U-20 national team. He is widely acknowledged as an authority on the NPFL and African football, Randa is esteemed for his expertise in football content creation. Furthermore, he holds the distinction of being Nigeria's foremost sports kit designer and a trailblazer in the realm of sports graphics in Nigeria.