Morocco are not defensive-minded, says Egypt coach Cuper

Ahram Online , Saturday 28 Jan 2017,
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Cuper
Egypt's Argentinian coach Hector Raul Cuper reacts during the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations group D football match between Egypt and Ghana in Port-Gentil on January 25, 2017 AFP

Egypt coach Hector Cuper underlined the attacking prowess of Sunday's African Nations Cup opponents Morocco, dismissing the notion that they are a defensive-minded side.

Both sides clash in the last eight of the Nations at Gabon's Port-Gentil Stadium, with Egypt looking to beat their North African rivals for the first time in 31 years.

Pundits drew some similarities between Egypt and Morocco, with both adopting a cautious strategy at the tournament.

Egypt, the only team not to concede any goals in three group-stage matches, secured narrow 1-0 victories over Uganda and Ghana following an opening 0-0 draw with Mali to top Group D.

Morocco finished second in Group C with two wins over Ivory Coast and Togo after an opening 1-0 loss to DR Congo.

"I can accept that Egypt is described as defensive, but Morocco isn't the same," Cuper told a news conference previewing the quarter-final clash.

"Morocco are defensively organized but they are very strong in attack. They are also physically strong and win almost all physical duels.

"Both sides will play to win so they will also rely on their attack, not just how they defend," the Argentinean boss added.

Cuper also sees no problem in scraping narrow victories as long as Egypt keep a clean sheet.

"Yes, we want to score more goals but not conceding any is more important. If a solitary goal will give us the win we need, then I will be very satisfied," he said.

"My team scored 37 goals in 21 matches and this is a good record."

Egypt last beat Morocco when a free-kick by the country's great Taher Abou-Zeid gave them a 1-0 win at the 1986 Nations Cup on home soil.

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Group A W D L P
Egypt
3 0 0 9
Uganda
1 1 1 4
DR Congo
1 0 2 3
Zimbabwe
0 1 2 1
Group B W D L P
Madagascar
2 1 0 7
Nigeria
2 0 1 6
Guinea
1 1 1 4
Burundi
0 0 3 0
Group C W D L P
Algeria
3 0 0 9
Senegal
2 0 1 6
Kenya
1 0 2 3
Tanzania
0 0 3 0
Group D W D L P
Morocco
3 0 0 9
Cote d'Ivoire
2 0 1 6
South Africa
1 0 2 3
Namibia
0 0 3 0
Group E W D L P
Mali
2 1 0 7
Tunisia
0 3 0 3
Angola
0 2 1 2
Mauritania
0 2 1 2
Group F W D L P
Ghana
1 2 0 5
Cameroon
1 2 0 5
Benin
0 3 0 3
Guinea Bissau
0 1 2 1