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Les Lions de l'Atlas

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By The Atlas Lions, Nov 12 2018 11:17AM

“We wanted to put in a good performance and we did that tonight”


Medhi Benatia was a key component of the Juventus defence that kept a clean sheet in the visit to Milan on Sunday evening. His handball did lead to the penalty that was squandered by Gonzalo Higuain in the first half but the defender barely put a foot wrong during the match.


“I’m glad about the performance and the win,” he said after the game.


“It was nice to be part of such a prestigious fixture. Yesterday I was getting a massage with Cristiano [Ronaldo] and [Daniele] Rugani and I saw it being said on TV that I often mess up in big games, so I wanted to show that I can be relied upon.


“It was important for us to bounce back after the Manchester United match. We wanted to put in a good performance and we did that tonight. Playing against Higuain, a good friend of mine, was an added incentive.”





By The Atlas Lions, Nov 12 2018 09:48AM

Achraf Hakimi vs Bayern Munich:

All eyes were glued on “Der Klassiker” as the blockbuster match up in the Bundesliga. Borussia Dortmund have started the season on fire, and going into the match led Bayern Munich by four points at the top of the table. Lucien Farve has done a nice job rotating the full backs and found himself with a selection headache heading into the match. Four quality options for two spots: Achraf, Schmelzer, Guerro, and Piszczek. Of those four, Achraf seems to be the undisputed starter and his versatility has only aided his ability to gobble up minutes, easily interchanging between left and right back. Against Bayern, Achraf was deployed as a left back— the same position that saw him produce a hat trick of assists against Atletico Madrid.


The first half, Borussia Dortmund were underwhelming with Lucien Farve making the strange decision to start Mario Gotze as a false nine and give Julien Weigl the nod over Delaney, who has started the season spectacularly. Bayern dominated possession in the opening half, but Dortmund found their way through Kovac’s men via the counter on a number of occasions. Defensively, Bayern Munich were a shambles all night long. Though, with Bayern’s strong possession game, Achraf had to be tuned in defensively. Franck Ribery was having a field day playing against Piszczek, which meant Achraf had to be prepared to defend from the weak side. This season, that has been one of Achraf’s best attributes; time and time again Achraf was well positioned on the weak side to intercept a cross or track an incisive run. Given their early dominance, Bayern did find a way to goal. Robert Lewandowski scored a free diving header after Serge Gnarby was given too much time and space by Achraf to curl in a cross, while young center back, Dan Axel-Zagadou, was caught ball watching, rather than tracking Lewandowski who had peeled off him to create separation and nod the ball home.


It must have been some team talk at half-time from Lucien Farve, as Dortmund shed their reserved style and attacked Bayern from all fronts. Achraf, who was quiet on the offensive end in the first half, exploded into life in the second half. He constantly bombed down the flank to provide an attacking option for his teammates and help fuel a counter attack with his blazing speed. Unlike Marcelo, Achraf has the speed and the engine to get back and cover the space he leaves behind making him less of a liability defensively, while still being able to maintain the same attacking mindset. Ultimately, Dortmund roared back in the second half, scoring three goal and winning what was a thoroughly entertaining match by a 3-2 score line.


Stats via WhoScored:


Key Passes: 2


Passes: 42 with 71.4% completion rate


Shots: 1


Tackles: 4 (joint top on team)


Clearances: 4


Aerial Duels Won: 2


Touches: 75 (3rd most on team)







By The Atlas Lions, Nov 12 2018 08:46AM

The Morocco international extended his goalscoring run in the Dutch Eredivisie with an effort at the Van Donge & De Roo Stadion


Hakim Ziyech contributed a goal and an assist as Ajax thrashed Excelsior 7-1 on Sunday.


The 25-year-old maintained his fine form for the Johan Cruyff Arena outfit with his fifth goal in his last six league outings.


In the 79th minute, the Atlas Lions’ playmaker benefitted from Nicolas Tagliafico's assist to register his seventh league goal of the season before setting David Neres up for Ajax's last goal in the encounter.


Ziyech, Noussair Mazraoui and Andre Onana who made Goal Africa Team of the Month for October were on parade for Erik ten Hag's men as they help extend the unbeaten run to 11 games across all competitions.


Ajax, placed second in the Dutch top-flight standings, continue to pile pressure on leaders PSV.





By The Atlas Lions, Nov 10 2018 08:24PM

AC Milan have reportedly started to consider joining the race to sign Juventus defender Mehdi Benatia.


The 31-year-old has spent the last three years representing the Italian champions, but the centre-back has been restricted to just five appearances in Serie A and the Champions League this season.


That has allegedly resulted in interest from Manchester United and Arsenal - who could be in the market for a new defender in January - but according to Sport Mediaset, Milan are also monitoring the situation.


Gennaro Gattuso's side require a replacement for the injured Mattia Caldara, and that could see a loan bid made for Morocco international Benatia.


The report suggests that Milan would have to commit to paying a €15m (£13.1m) fee for a permanent transfer at the end of the season.


Benatia has also played for Udinese and Roma in Italy's top flight, while three years were spent contracted to Bayern Munich.



By The Atlas Lions, Nov 9 2018 08:02AM

The Belgian outfit were set for a win courtesy the Morocco international's early opener but for a late pair of strikes


Mehdi Carcela scored as Standard Liege were defeated 2-1 by Krasnodar in Thursday's Europa League tie.


Liege started brightly with Carcela giving them a lead courtesy his 19th-minute strike.


However, when it looked like they would leave Russia with a victory, late strikes from Magomed-Shapi Suleymanov and Wanderson turned their fortunes around.


The goal was Carcela's fourth of the season and their loss to Murad Musayev’s men meant they remain unmoved in third place, with six points from four Group J games.



By The Atlas Lions, Nov 9 2018 07:45AM

Around 5 years ago, nobody would have expected Morocco to qualify for the world cup. Cameroon and Côte d'Ivoire were the powerhouses of African football, possessing the likes of Samuel Eto'o and Didier Drogba, but as time progressed the Moroccans have slowly established a competitive squad. Part of the reason for their recent success has been the emergence of young Moroccan players in Europe's top flight leagues.


Achraf Hakimi, born in Madrid, joined Real Madrid's youth set-up at the tender age of 8 and made his professional debut for the club 11 years later. Zinedine Zidane decided to call up the youngster to the Los Blancos squad as a backup for Dani Carvajal, and he quickly impressed all with his defensive skills when needed. The 20-year-old is currently on loan at Borussia Dortmund, where he already has 3 assists.


Hakim Ziyech, a more prominent Moroccan player, has graced the Eredivisie with his presence. The Dutch-Moroccan player rose through Heerenveen's youth academy before going on to be a vital player in the first team. Just 25 years old, Ziyech is already one of Ajax's star players, scoring 22 goals in just over 70 club appearances.


Another Moroccan rising through Ajax's first team set-up is Noussair Mazraoui. Born in Liederdrop, Mazraoui made over 50 appearances for Jong Ajax (Ajax's youth team) before breaking into the professional squad. This season, Mazraoui has become the club's starting right-back and has even gone on to score a goal against Benfica in the Champions League.


Although not very young in terms of a footballing career, the center-back duo of Romain Saïss and Medhi Benatia have been tearing it up in Europe. Saïss roamed around France, representing Le Havre and Angers SCO before becoming an integral part of Wolverhampton Wanderer's EFL Championship win and promotion to the Premier League.


Benatia, on the other hand, racked up just about 80 appearances for Udinese before spells at Roma, Bayern Munich, and Juventus established him as one of the world's best defenders.


Head coach Hervé Renard certainly has a lot of potential and experienced players at his disposal, and the Moroccan team should be strong contenders for next year's Africa Cup of Nation tournament in Cameroon.



By The Atlas Lions, Nov 8 2018 01:34PM

(Goal.com) The Atlas Lions shot-stopper made his mark as the only player from the Spanish top-flight to feature in this week’s starting XI


Girona goalkeeper Yassine Bounou has been rewarded with a place in the Fifa 19 Ultimate Team of the Week for week 8.


The Morocco international is the only LaLiga player and African player in the star-studded team released on Wednesday.



The 27-year-old helped the Catalonia club defeated Valencia in Saturday's league meeting with key saves at the Estadio de Mestalla.



The former Atletico Madrid and Wydad Casablanca goalkeeper kept a clean sheet in Girona’s 1-0 win and now enjoys an increased overall rating of 81 from 77.

By The Atlas Lions, Nov 7 2018 10:43AM

AZ Alkmaar winger Oussama Idrissi is honoured to be called up by Morocco but has still not decided on his international future.


The 22-year-old’s time with Netherlands U21’s ended recently with the failed European Championship qualifying campaign but he is yet to receive a full call-up.


Morocco have come calling, though, with Herve Renard including the forward in his squad for the upcoming African Cup of Nations qualifiers. Speaking to AZ TV, Idrissi says he will meet up with the Morocco squad but has still not decided whether to represent the Atlas Lions.


He said, “Eventually, the Dutch Juniors came to an end, unfortunately, we did not qualify. I did not get a call from the real Dutch team and now Morocco has come knocking.


“It is my homeland, of course, so that is very special and beautiful, I am very happy with that. So I go there and look forward to working with those guys, to taste, to have conversations and to see how it goes.”


Asked if he has made a final choice he responded, “No, I do not think so yet, I’m going there, I’m going to have conversations and see how it is, of course, I’m proud and honoured to receive an invitation, and later on you can make the choice of what it is. I have not made a choice for now. “





Read more ...http://www.football-oranje.com/idrissi-has-not-decided-between-netherlands-and-morocco/

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