Gambia surprise highly-rated Morocco in Africa Cup warm-up

The unexpected outcome can partly be explained by Morocco coach Herve Renard making numerous substitutions in the first of two friendly fixtures before heading to Egypt for the finals.

Herve Renard made numerous substitutions in the first of two friendly fixtures.   -  GETTY IMAGES

Morocco, one of the favourites to win the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations, suffered a surprise 1-0 warm-up match loss in Marrakech on Wednesday to non-qualifiers the Gambia.

The unexpected outcome can partly be explained by Morocco coach Herve Renard making numerous substitutions in the first of two friendly fixtures before heading to Egypt for the finals.

Musa Barrow, who plays for Serie A club and 2019/2020 UEFA Champions League qualifiers Atalanta, scored the match-winner on 27 minutes at Stade de Marrakech.

It was the second victory for the lowly ranked Gambians over a Cup of Nations qualifier within six days after it defeated Guinea 1-0 last Friday in the same city.

Morocco is in Group D with fellow former champions the Ivory Coast and South Africa and rank outsiders Namibia.

The group is considered the toughest of the six to qualify from and only the winners and runners-up are guaranteed places in the round-of-16 knockout stage.

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