Saiss and Morocco into AFCON last 16

Romain Saiss captained Morocco into the knockout stages of the Africa Cup of Nations following a 2-0 victory over Comoros on Friday afternoon.

The Wolves defender was a presence at either end of the pitch in the second match of Group C, as the Atlas Lions made it two wins from two to continue their perfect start to the competition.

Saiss once again wore the captain’s armband as he led his country out at left centre-back, and his side were too much to handle for Comoros, who sit 132nd in the FIFA world rankings, and were reliant on their goalkeeper Salim Ben Boina for keeping the score down to just two.

It took Morocco just 16 minutes to open the scoring when winger Tarik Tissoudali made a clever run into the box and although his cross found Ayoub El Kaabi, the striker’s effort was blocked, before falling to Selim Amallah who fired into a narrow window between the Comoros defenders on the line.

Saiss’ centre-back partner Nayef Aguerd struck the crossbar as Morocco searched for a second, before Boina had the game of his career to deny El Kaabi from close range before stopping the Wolves man from a rebound a few yards out from goal before clinging onto the ball to stop it crossing the line as Watford’s Adam Masina ponced onto a second rebound.

Boina continued keep Comoros in the tie as he saved Youssef En-Nesyri’s penalty, but there was nothing he could do to deny Zakaria Aboukhlal from doubling Morocco’s advantage late in the game.

The win keeps Morocco top of the Group C table, and secures their place in the last 16, with Saiss’ men two points ahead of second-placed Gabon who drew 1-1 with Ghana.

Morocco will end their group stage campaign against Gabon on Tuesday evening, where another win would go some way to confirming their place as favourites for the 2021 title.