FIFA World Cup Qualifying Preview: Morocco needs a win against Gambia on Sat., June 15

Morocco's Youssef El Arabi scored a brilliant goal against Zambia, hopes to add more against Gambia on Saturday.

Morocco’s Youssef El-Arabi scored a brilliant goal against Tanzania and hopes to find the back of the net again against Gambia on Saturday. Soccerway, 411

*Atlas Lions need win to stay alive in CAF World Cup qualifying*

Soccerway (June 13, 2013) — Morocco need a victory against struggling Gambia on Saturday to stay alive in Group C of CAF World Cup qualifying. Rachid Taoussi’s men are unlikely to reach the third round of qualifying in Africa, but a win would at least put some pressure on group leaders Ivory Coast.

Only the winners of each group will advance to the next round and Morocco sit third – five points behind top spot – with two matches remaining.  A victory over Gambia, who are bottom and winless, would make Ivory Coast nervous ahead of their trip to Tanzania on Sunday.

Morocco may look back to their opening game in Group C as the reason they find themselves unlikely to qualify for Brazil 2014. They drew 1-1 against Gambia in Bakau, which remains the only point Luciano Mancini’s men have earned this stage.

Against Zambia, the Atlas Lions started strong, scoring on a penalty kick in the 39th minute and adding a deft drive past the keeper for a 2-0 lead in the 51st minute. Football 411

Against Tanzania, Atlas Lions started strong, scoring on a penalty kick in the 39th minute, doubling their lead with a deft drive past the keeper at 51 minutes, and holding on for a 2-1 win. Football 411

Mancini has never led Gambia to a win, their last victory coming in August 2011 with a 3-0 win over Congo. Gambia have conceded 10 goals in their past four matches without netting one and they are huge outsiders heading to the Stade de Marrakech.

Morocco’s squad is inexperienced and with four goals, Granada forward Youssef El-Arabi is their leading goalscorer.  Goalkeeper Nadir Lamyaghri, 37, will lead the way and they will need good a good performance from Younes Belhanda.  The Montpellier winger needs to provide the creativity in a Morocco squad which is without Arsenal striker Marouane Chamakh.

Goals have been a problem for Morocco in the second round having netted six times in their four matches. El-Arabi has scored two of those and Houssine Kharja, the Al-Arabi midfielder, has also struck twice.

Given Gambia’s struggles and Morocco’s desperate circumstances, Taoussi’s side should be too good and are likely to stay alive in qualifying.

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