Morocco and Zambia face off in a match that will decide qualifying for the round of 16. Zambia has returned to the AFCON stage after a three-year absence, but they are still looking for their first win in the competition since their unlikely victory in 2012. Two initial draws, both by the same 1-1 scoreline, have dimmed Chipolopolo's enthusiasm, particularly their last stalemate against Tanzania in a game they were largely expected to win. Avram Grant's side got off to a bad start when Simon Msuva took advantage of a quick turnover for the Taifa Stars, and things got worse when defender Rodrick Kabwe drew a second yellow card and was sent off shortly before halftime, leaving Zambia with ten men. However, the Chipolopolo pushed hard and battled their way back with Patson Daka's spectacular late header, securing a point.
With two points from two games, the Southern Africans face a win-or-bust situation against tournament favourites Morocco in their last group game on tonight. Zambia might be eliminated from the AFCON group stage for the third time in a row if it fails to win. However, the historical odds are stacked against them, since they have only defeated Morocco once in six matches, losing three and drawing two. Morocco is widely regarded as the tournament's strongest challenger, aiming for their second AFCON victory in history. The Atlas Lions met expectations in their first match, defeating group minnows Tanzania 3-0. However, their aim for a smooth run was thwarted in their second game, a painful 1-1 draw against DR Congo. Morocco's Achraf Hakimi opened the scoring in the sixth minute, but Congo DR's Silas Katompa Mvumpa equalized in the 76th minute. Earlier, Cedric Bakambu missed a wonderful opportunity for the Leopards when his first-half penalty hit the woodwork.
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