Alloudi treble sinks Namibia
Morocco cruise in opening encounter
By Rob Parrish. Last Updated: 21/01/08 5:09pm
Soufiane Alloudi grabbed a hat-trick inside the opening 28 minutes as Morocco cruised to a 5-1 victory over Namibia in their opening Africa Cup of Nations clash.
The Group A encounter was always expected to be a tough test for surprise qualifiers Namibia, and so it proved as Arie Schans, who only took charge last month following the death of coach Ben Bamfuchile, saw his side exposed time and again in defence.
Henri Michel's Morocco rarely needed to move out of second gear at a sparsely-populated Accra Sports Stadium and they could have won by an even more comfortable scoreline given the number of clear-cut chances they created.
There were just two minutes on the clock when Marouane Chamakh broke into the box beyond a static defence and beat the goalkeeper with his shot, only to see it hit the post.
But the rebound fell kindly to the Morocco player and he squared for midfielder Alloudi, who plays for Al-Ain in the United Arab Emirates, to knock home.
And just three minutes later Morocco doubled their advantage with Alloudi playing a neat one-two with Youssef Hadji before lifting the ball over a bamboozled defender and clipping it beyond Abisai Shiningayamwe.
It should have been 3-0 in the 20th minute when more poor defending allowed Hadji to race onto a long ball out of defence, but he fired his shot straight at the goalkeeper.
However, Namibia responded and reduced the deficit with a great goal from Brian Brendell, who received Collin Benjamin's astute pass through the defence before drilling a low shot into the bottom right-hand corner of the net.
But the respite was brief, and Morocco immediately restored their advantage as Tarik Sektioui's great cross from the left cut out the Namibia defence and Shiningayamwe, allowing Alloudi to complete his hat-trick with a simple far-post header.
And Porto's Sektioui added a fourth from the penalty spot before the interval after Jamunovandu Ngatjizeko brought down Michael Basser with a late challenge in the box.
The second period was a more pedestrian affair, occasionally punctuated by some heavy Namibian tackling, with Alloudi's day ending badly as he was forced off after a crunching challenge from Ngatjizeko.
Substitute Moncef Zerka, back after a year on the sidelines with a double leg fracture, was then left unmarked to head home a corner just minutes after coming on for Hadji.
Africa Cup of Nations Group A
Africa Cup of Nations Group B
Africa Cup of Nations Group C
Africa Cup of Nations Group D