AFRICAN CUP OF NATIONS

Angola, Morocco split group points

Morocco earned a lifeless 0-0 draw against Angola in their African Cup of Nations opener.
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JOHANNESBURG (AP)

Morocco and Angola drew 0-0 in the African Cup of Nations on Saturday, leaving the continent's top tournament without a goal after an unimpressive opening two games in South Africa.

The Moroccans and Angolans created chances at Soccer City, including two in the first five minutes, but failed to convert to leave Group A goalless after 180 minutes and fans with little to cheer in the rain in Soweto.

Host South Africa was held to 0-0 by tournament debutant Cape Verde in the same stadium earlier on Saturday.

''We monopolized the first half, but we wasted our chances,'' Morocco coach Rachid Taoussi said.

Mingo Bile hit a low skidding shot for Angola in the second minute, forcing goalkeeper Nadir Lamyaghri to parry. Morocco replied with a rasping drive by Karim El Hamdaoui in the fifth that Lama saved.

In the second half, Angola's Alfonso Guilherme missed an open goal after a bad mistake by Lamyaghri, when he dropped a slippery ball behind him and at the feet of the substitute.

Striker and captain Manucho sent a diving header flashing just wide right at the end which would have stolen victory for the strong-finishing Angolans after Morocco had the better of the first half.

The Moroccans started briskly after Bile's early warning.

Impressive left winger Ossama Assaidi weaved in and out and past two defenders on the left flank in the 14th, then unleashed a shot over the crossbar from a tight angle.

Karim El Ahmadi lined up a drive from outside the penalty area a couple of minutes later but flashed his powerful effort across goal and past the left post as the Moroccans pressed.

Lamyaghri struggled with the slippery conditions two minutes into the second half when he presented a clear opportunity for Guilherme. The substitute forward sent his looping shot past the far post and just out of reach of the lunging Manucho.

Assaidi again troubled Angola's defense in the 67th, leaving two defenders on the floor after they collided with each other after trying to stop the tricky winger. After creating the space, Assaidi pulled his shot past the left post.

Angola found late energy and surged forward in the final 10 minutes.

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Manucho smiled ruefully after sending a shot just wide from the edge of the area with Moroccan defenders scrambling, and Mateus Da Costa hit a shot straight at Lamyaghri. Manucho was just wide with his desperate header right at the death.

The tall forward threw himself full length to make contact in front of a teammate two minutes from full time but glanced his strong header off target in the very last chance on a night of no goals.

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Lineups:

Morocco: Nadir Lamyaghri, Abderrahim Achchakir, Mehdi El Mouttaqui, Adil Hermach, Abdelaziz Barrada (Younes Belhanda, 64), Karim El Ahmadi (Chahir Belghazouani, 82), Ossama Assaidi, Mounir El Hamdaoui (Youssef El Arabi, 70), Abdelhamid El Koutari, Issam El Adoua, Noureddine Amrabat.

Angola: Lama, Lunguinha (Marco Airos, 78), Dani Massunguna, Dede, Manucho, Bastos, Miguel Quiami, Pirolito, Mateus Da Costa, Geraldo (Gilberto, 82), Mingo Bile (Alfonso Guilherme, 45).

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