After a goalless draw in its Group A opener against South
Africa, Cape Verde Islands impressed once more and Luis Platini went down in
its history books with a landmark goal after 35 minutes.
It continued to boss the game but a defensive lapse allowed Morocco
to level in the 78th minute and it spent much of the final 10 minutes
on the back foot as it fought to preserve a point.
There was a taste of things to come inside the opening minutes when
Julio Tavares got on the end of a dangerous free-kick to force Nadir
Lamyaghri into an early save.
That was the cue for virtually one-way traffic throughout the opening
45 minutes, with Morocco mustering just two shots, neither of which
troubled Josimar Vozinha.
Instead, Lamyaghri was the goalkeeper being kept busy as Tavares bullied the Morocco defence.
He threatened again after winning possession 40 yards from goal but
then running through the defence before pulling a shot just wide.
Ryan Mendes then brought a good save out of the goalkeeper with a low
free-kick that looked to take the slightest deflection off the wall.
Platini volleyed wide and then brought another good save from the goalkeeper as the pressure mounted.
The goal came in the 35th minute as Mendes split the defence with a throughball and Platini raced on to chip it over Lamyaghri.
Cape Verde remained the better side in the second half, with Neves
Nando heading over from Fernando Varela's cross while Tavares continued
to make a nuisance of himself.
But just when it looked like Morocco had run out of ideas, it levelled 12 minutes from time.
It looked all too easy from Cape Verde Islands' point of view with Abdelaziz
Barrada allowed room on the right to pull the ball back to the
completely unmarked Youssef El Arabi to rifle home from the penalty
Cape Verde Islands almost responded moments later when Heldon ran on to a
throughball but he did not make proper contact on his shot as the
But Morocco had found the spark it lacked, and El Arabi headed
narrowly wide from a corner and Kamel Chafni sent a long-range effort
desperately close after good work from Chahir Belghazouani won a corner.