Africa Cup of Nations – Morocco v Togo Preview (20/1/17)

Morocco preview

Some people would say Morocco were unlucky to lose against DRC. Whilst this might be true, their lack of penetration was a massive concern. They just didn’t look like scoring and my main worry about them ahead of the tournament was in the final third of the field. Key players like Boufal & Belhanda are huge losses and they aren't left with much quality going forwards. Morocco still have a pretty good defence but one mistake cost them against DRC. It goes without saying that a clean sheet is a necessity here. I don’t think they can score two goals very easily based on squad options. But because Morocco lost their opening fixture, they really need three points today so might have to take some risks late on. It will be interesting to see their approach.

Togo preview

Nobody fancied them much against the Ivory Coast and indeed Togo were a +1 underdog in that fixture. But I think it’s fair to say Emmanuel Adebayor’s men held out pretty comfortably. Côte D’Ivoire didn’t test them much, but that is also credit to Togo’s organisation and discipline. They are a hard unit to break down and would happily take their chances on drawing three games in order to qualify. I don’t expect the Sparrow Hawks to play with much urgency here and they’ll probably time waste as much as possible. Going forwards they might create the odd few chances, but nothing on a consistent basis. The strength of the team is at the back with it’s solid approach. This is also a close knit squad and everyone knows each other. They certainly enjoy being underdogs as well.

Conclusion & betting analysis

This won’t be much of a classic. Neither side is particularly good going forwards and chances should be few and far between. Morocco will probably look good on the eye at times, but they are often all huff and puff with no end product. Maybe Herve Renard’s men will find a way to sneak a goal and manage to hold onto a clean sheet, but I wouldn’t bank on that happening. Morocco are odds-on for this fixture and personally I just can’t touch them. They aren’t a side I trust and I think Togo will probably avoid defeat. I looked at backing under 2 goals and Togo +0.5. But there’s no need to gamble on a couple of riskier selections. The under 2 price is pretty poor anyway. That said, I have this down as a major 0-0 contender and wouldn’t want to put anyone off backing it.

Prediction: 0-0

Recommended bet: None