March 25, 2022, 6:54:48 AM
Congo DR and Morocco face off in the first leg of their play-off contest at Stade des Martyrs, with only 180 minutes of action separating them from a place in the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
The teams will be hoping to get a jump on each other ahead of next week's return leg in Casablanca in order to be in the running for November's global finale.
During the previous stage of the qualifiers, Morocco was head and shoulders above every other African team, winning all six of their Group I games by a combined score of 20-1.
Vahid Halilhodzic's side were unable to repeat their success at the Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon, when they were eliminated in the quarter-finals by Egypt.
The Atlas Lions, who have made five prior appearances at the World Cup finals, will fancy their chances against a team that has only played once at this level.
Morocco, on the other hand, has only won two of their 11 meetings with Congo DR, with their last victory coming in a friendly 16 years ago.
Dieumerci Mbokani and Cedric Bakambu have a combined 35 international goals between them, and the attackers will be heavily counted on to offer attacking firepower.
Chancel Mbemba, a defender for Porto, is set to make his 65th appearance for Congo DR, moving him into second place on the all-time list.
Abde Ezzalzouli has chosen Morocco over Spain as his national team, and the 20-year-old might make his debut on Friday.
Hakim Ziyech has announced his retirement from international football after a falling out with head coach Halilhodzic. He hasn't played since June 2021.
𝐖𝐞 𝐬𝐚𝐲: 𝐂𝐨𝐧𝐠𝐨 𝐃𝐑 𝟏-𝟏 𝐌𝐨𝐫𝐨𝐜𝐜𝐨
Morocco boast the better team on paper, but Congo DR's home form could see them come away with a point in what should be an enthralling affair.
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