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          World Cup 2022
          Both sides remain confident of knockout football

          Morocco and Croatia share a goalless draw

          2022/11/23 11:59

          Morocco and Croatia shared a goalless draw at the Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor as neither side managed to create anything clear-cut. It is the third 0-0 draw in the last four matches at the tournament.

          Action: The first-half began in quite a frenetic manner with both sides attempting to build attacks quite quickly with only one player on the pitch, Luka Modric, look to control the tempo.

          That general lack of scanning and, bluntly, thinking meant clear-cut chances were quite rare. Morocco had a lot of good territory but failed to do much with it with the final ball, especially on the right-hand side, which is a major surprise given the personnel of Achraf Hakimi and Hakim Ziyech, often wasteful and rushed.

          Croatia began to come on strong towards the end of the half with a well worked move down the left-hand side finding Nikola Vlasic who directed an effort towards goal but it was well saved by Sevilla’s Bono in the Moroccan goal.

          Moments later, just before the half-time whistle, the aforementioned Modric had a dipping shot go just over the cross-bar, having seemed goal-bound for much of its journey.

          Once again, Morocco started well in terms of territory and possession but couldn’t create much by way of real chances. Noussair Mazraoui got his head to a loose cross and that was about it for The Atlas Lions at the start of the half.

          Just a few minutes later, Croatia had a goalmouth scramble dealt with well by the Moroccans, forcing Bono into some more good work.

          Noussair Mazraoui was then eventually injured and taken off on a stretcher after being winded by that effort on goal he had and trying to carry on after being involved in the last-ditch defending of the goalmouth scramble.

          Achraf Hakimi had the most eye-catching effort of the game when his free-kick from around 30 yards out was struck sweetly and quickly but comfortably punched clear by Dominik Livakovic.

          Croatia came on the stronger in the closing minutes of the match but found no reward with several set-pieces being dealt with comfortably after underwhelming deliveries.

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          Big picture: It had been expected that these two sides would be evenly matched in Group F and that has proven the case in the opening game.

          Both sides will be confident of defeating Canada and both sides will also fancy their chances against an ageing Belgian side. Group F remains wide open.

          Magical moment: It was a match that lacked real excitement and overall attacking quality but the best moment did come from Achraf Hakimi’s well-struck free-kick, albeit fairly comfortably saved by Livakovic.

          Man of the match: Ivan Perisic. The most likely goal threat for either side did appear to be Perisic but that was through quantity of his work, rather than the quality, admittedly.

          xG: Morocco (0.32) 0-0 (0.68) Canada

          Stat of the day: An overall expected goals rate of one for the match is comfortably the lowest of the tournament after nine matches. 

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