Morocco inflicted a record 5-1 loss on Namibia in their opening African Nations Cup game on Monday in front of a near-empty stadium.
Morocco inflicted a record 5-1 loss on Namibia in their opening African Nations Cup game here Monday in front of a near-empty stadium.
A first-half hat-trick from Soufiane Alloudi and goals from Tarik Sektioui and Moncef Zerka lifted the Atlas Lions ahead of hosts Ghana, winners over Guinea 24 hours earlier, to the top of Group A.
After Ghana coach Claude LeRoy's description of Accra's Ohene Djan stadium pitch as the worst he'd ever seen Monday's teams will not have welcomed the presence of a military band churning up the turf before kick-off.
Still at least they were in tune, which is more than can be said for the crowd, to use the term loosely as it barely reached triple figures in stark contrast to the full house which turned up to watch the hosts in Sunday's opener.
The handful that did turn up were treated to a feisty Morocco evidently intent on atoning for their last tame appearance in this competition, in Egypt in 2006 when they were sent home without scoring a single goal.
Their African Nations Cup goal famine lasted all of two minutes as Henri Michel's slick side went ahead with virtually the first move of the game.
Captain Youssef Safri set the ball rolling for the Atlas Lions, Marouane Chamakh racing onto the Southampton midfielder's long ball.
Chamakh, who plays his club football in France with Bordeaux, beat his marker with his shot hitting the near post but the opportunity didn't go abegging as Alloudi was on hand to slot the ball into an open net.
Namibia's defenders barely had time to draw breath when they were undone for a second time after a neat 1-2 between Youssef Hadji and Alloudi who slotted past keeper Abisia Shiningayamwe.
But the Namibians aren't called the Brave Warriors for nothing and they were rewarded for their mini fight back in the 22nd minute when Collin Benjamin set up midfielder Brian Brendell whose close range shot sailed past Shanangayamwe.
In a first half hour featuring more attacking moves than spectators to watch them Morocco cut short Namibia's celebrations when Sektioui sent the ball flying into the box from the left corner for United Arab Emirates-based Alloudi to bag his three-timer.
And Sektioui joined the goal fest himself, the Porto player converting a 39th minute penalty awarded by Cameroonian referee Evehe Divine after the felling of Michael Basser by a Namibian defender.
The second half was always going to struggle to live up to the first and it proved a painful one for the hat-trick hero Alloudi, who was carted off on an electric golf buggy.
Yet Morocco still had enough firepower left to deepen Namibia's misery with substitute Zerka heading in a corner in the 73rd minute,
For Namibia, whose Cup build-up was marked by tragedy with the death of their coach Ben Bamfuchile in December, this was a record defeat, surpassing the 4-1 loss inflicted by South Africa in Burkina Faso 10 years ago.
For Morocco, Nations Cup winners 32 years ago, as well as getting in some shooting practise a last-eight place now lies within their grasp, something they have failed to manage in three of their last four Nations Cup appearances.
Date created : 2008-01-21