By ,05-Mar-2014 21:59:00
(Soccerway.com) Malick Evouna's fantastic individual goal earned Gabon a 1-1 draw in a friendly with Morocco in Marrakech on Wednesday.
The Gabonese had fallen behind to Youssef El-Arabi's first-half penalty but, just after the hour mark, Evouna worked his way past several Moroccan defenders and produced a calm finish to earn a draw for his side.
Both sides had interim coaches at the helm and after a cagey opening, Morocco captain Adel Taarabt fired a warning shot, sending a curling effort over the crossbar from 25 yards in the 16th minute.
The visitors responded immediately, Evouna testing Mohammed Youssefi with a strike from the edge of the box soon afterwards.
In the 27th minute, the home side were handed the chance to break the deadlock. Bruno Manga brought down Abdelaziz Barrada inside the box and El-Arabi struck a low penalty into the bottom left-hand corner.
With half-time approaching, Gabon went close to an equaliser, Frederic Bulot's deflected free-kick wrongfooting Youssefi, who was lucky to see the ball fly just over the crossbar.
Bulot wasted great chance to equalise 10 minutes after the break, firing off target from eight yards with just the goalkeeper to beat.
Evouna's superb finish rendered that miss irrelevant five minutes later though, the striker picking up a loose ball before beating three men inside the area and slotting a cool finish beyond Youssefi.
Taarabt almost won it for his side 12 minutes from time, but his low free-kick was tipped onto the post by Didier Ovono and bounced away to safety.
By ,05-Mar-2014 18:59:00
(TheAtlasLions.com) The friendly between Morocco and Gabon ended in stalemate 1-1.
Morocco opened the scoring by Youssef El Arabi from penalty spot in the 26th minute before Gabon leveled the score 1-1 in second half.
Kick off: 19h00 GMT, 20h00 CET, 14h00 EST
Morocco starting line up:
Mohammed Youssefi -GK
Aberhoune-Feddal-El Adoua-Mohammed Nahiri-El Kaoutari
Live streaming video:
By ,03-Mar-2014 20:52:00
(Supersport.com) Crystal Palace front man Marouane Chamakh has been dropped from the Morocco squad to face Gabon in a friendly match on Wednesday March 5 in Marrakech.
The 30-year-old former Arsenal player was substituted in his side’s Premier League clash against Swansea on Sunday following a thigh injury.
The Royal Moroccan Football Federation says a medical report from the Glaziers indicated that the player would stay back in England for treatment.
Morocco did not qualify for the upcoming World Cup but will host the next edition of the Africa Cup of Nations in January 2015.
The FA says its team, which is yet to recruit a head coach, will use the match against the Panthers as part of preparations for the upcoming Afcon.
Former Zambia coach Herve Renard is on a shortlist of candidates for the Atlas Lions’ job.
By ,03-Mar-2014 19:48:00
(Soccerway.com) Morocco and Gabon will each have interim coaches in charge when they meet in Marrakech for a friendly on Wednesday.
Both countries reached the quarter-finals of the recent African Nations Championship, which is only open to players participating in the national league of their own country, two months ago.
Morocco succumbed to a sensational fightback from Nigeria, who came from three goals behind to force extra-time and then snatched victory through Abubakar Ibrahim.
Gabon also suffered a dramatic exit as they were beaten 4-2 on penalties by Libya following a 1-1 draw.
Neither Morocco or Gabon have returned to action since, and the former should be particularly keen to get 2014 off to a strong start as they prepare to host next year's African Nations Cup in January and February of 2015.
While the long-term future of Morocco's coaching setup is somewhat unclear due to pending president elections in the Moroccan Football Federation, Hassan Benabicha - the interim boss for this week's game - has been able to call on stellar names such as Adel Taarabt and Marouane Chamakh.
However, Roma defender Mehdi Benatia is absent after he made clear his unhappiness at the uncertainty surrounding his country's football future.
Having told Radio Mars he would retire from international football if "all the conditions are not met for a good African Cup", Benatia remains unhappy with the current state of the national side.
"I no longer want to be the laughing stock of African football," he told L'Equipe.
"It's been five years since our services are not up to our potential."
"We just need a coach that makes the most of us."
Morocco's opponents on Wednesday will be led by Claude Albert Mbourounot, with the country still in the process of finding a replacement for Paulo Duarte - who left his role as coach in September.
Mbourounot, who has held a number of positions in the Gabon national setup and was a former assistant of Duarte, will be eager to bolster his hopes of landing the job on a full-time basis.
Georges Leekens and Pierre Lechantre are also among the candidates to succeed Duarte, although a decision is not expected until after the Gabonese Football Federation's presidential elections on March 30.
By ,01-Mar-2014 17:56:00
(Kickoff.com) Moroccan midfielder Adel Taarabt says he wants to become the 'Lionel Messi of AC Milan' as he looks to build on his impressive form for the Rossoneri.
Taarabt is on loan at Milan from Championship side QPR, having previously had a brief unsuccessful stay at Premier League strugglers Fulham.
"I am not surprised with my performances at Milan so far. I know what I can do and I feel like an important player at Milan," Taarabt told La Gazzetta dello Sport.
"I want to become the Messi of Milan. Players like Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are an inspiration. I am not at their level yet, but it's my objective to get there.
"I still have to prove myself, but I believe in my own qualities.
"When Milan signed me, I told myself that I have to grab this opportunity with both hands. I have already thrown away four years and cannot afford to waste any more time.
"I have little time to convince Milan, but I want to take this chance," concluded the 24-year-old.
By ,26-Feb-2014 11:34:00
AC Milan have reportedly made preparations to secure the permanent signing of Adel Taarabt when the transfer window reopens in the summer.
The 24-year-old joined the Italian club on loan from Queens Park Rangers in January and has already impressed manager Clarence Seedorf with two goals in the early stages of his Milan career.
QPR are believed to be eager to sell Taarabt at the end of the season, which is set to spark a bidding war for his signature.
However, Milan are expected to lead the chase for the Moroccan and could be prepared to bid £6m to secure his services, according to the Daily Mail.
Taarabt joined QPR from Tottenham Hotspur in 2010.
By ,25-Feb-2014 18:35:00
(Goal.com) The 17-year-old striker has accepted to play for the France under-19 outfit after previously representing Morocco in the U17 category
Morocco rising star Younes Bnou Marzouk has announced he would be playing for France U19, only three months after participating at the U17 Fifa World Cup with Morocco.
Born in France to Moroccan parents, Marzouk holds both nationalities, but began his football career in the North African country and was regarded by officials and supporters as the hope of the Atlas Lions’ new generation.
“My choice is purely professional and I wish to say sorry to those it might hurt,” said the centre forward who now plies his trade at Juventus.
This is the first time a Moroccan player is making such a reverse movement. In recent years foreign-born players usually switch allegiance to their country of ancestry after a stint in the junior categories abroad.
However, Marzouk can still return to Morocco as he is yet to join the France senior team, although local newspapers have described his decision as a betrayal and disregard for the people of Morocco.
By ,23-Feb-2014 17:38:00
(Reuters) - New signings Adel Taarabt and Adil Rami scored to give AC Milan a 2-0 win at Sampdoria, who were furious at a series of second-half refereeing decisions in Serie A on Sunday.
Taarabt, signed on loan from Queens Park Rangers in January, gave ninth-placed Milan (35 points) an early lead when he snapped up the rebound after his initial header was saved by Junior Da Costa.
Defender Rami, on loan from Valencia, scored the second just before the hour after Giampaolo Pazzini got in front of Da Costa to head the ball into his path.
By ,22-Feb-2014 12:26:00
(Sky Sports) Crystal Palace boss Tony Pulis says a new deal for Marouane Chamakh has yet to be discussed, with Aston Villa reportedly interested in his capture.
The former Arsenal hitman has been a big hit at Selhurst Park under Pulis, helping rejuvenate the south London side after a poor start to the season.
The Moroccan has netted six goals this campaign, which has alerted Villa boss Paul Lambert, who is reportedly keen to bolster his attack in the summer with Christian Benteke struggling for goals.
Pulis admits he would love him to stay, but is yet to begin new contract talks.
"I haven't spoken to Marouane (Chamakh). We have a few players out of contract at the end of the season," Pulis told the Daily Express.
"I'm determined that it will get sorted out though.
"I haven't spoken to any players about contract extensions. Marouane has shown with his work off the ball that he is enjoying his football and that's all I want from him."
By ,21-Feb-2014 15:50:00
(ESPN) AC Milan midfielder Adel Taarabt claims he "suffered a lot" after his dream of moving to Paris Saint-Germain was dashed 18 months ago.
Taarabt, 24, joined Milan from Fulham last month, swapping the Cottagers' battle against relegation for the Champions League and making his debut in the competition in the Rossoneri's last 16 first-leg defeat to Atletico Madrid on Wednesday.
The Morocco international could, however, have been instead lining up for PSG against Leverkusen 24 hours earlier.
Pursued by the French champions in the summer of 2012 after catching the eye in the colours of Queen's Park Rangers, Taarabt might have joined Thiago Silva and Zlatan Ibrahimovic in arriving at the Parc des Princes but for the Ligue 1 club's then-sporting director Leonardo.
"I was the Qataris' priority. They met me before all the other players they signed. They wanted me to sign. But I think Leonardo had other priorities," Taarabt told RMC.
“Paris did make QPR an offer of 12 million euros all the same. My clause was 17 million. But it was too much for Leonardo, too much for a player who had had just one good season in the English second tier
"I suffered because of that transfer falling through, I suffered a lot. In my head, I was at PSG, at a big club, I was going to play the Champions League. And then you go off with QPR again. I had a nightmare of a year. It was hard. But I'm happy to have bounced back at AC Milan."
The first half of this season was barely more pleasurable for the talented but temperamental midfielder, who made just a handful of Premier League appearances before his surprise loan switch to the San Siro where he has featured in his new club's last three competitive outings.
"When I signed here, I always said that I had faith in my qualities, and that I thought I was up to playing for AC Milan. It's true that people were surprised because I wasn't playing at Fulham," Taarabt stated, adding veteran Milan defender Philippe Mexes had helped him settle quickly.
"I didn't know him at all, and didn't expect him to be so cool. He's really helped me. I consider him as a big brother. In Italy, he's respected. He's had ten years of his career here. Even though he's not playing, he's super professional. He's there, he encourages you."
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