Luka Modric applauds to followers after the group F match between Morocco and Croatia, on the Al Bayt Stadium. AP
Al Khor: Morocco held Croatia to a 0-0 draw of their opening recreation of the World Cup on Wednesday, producing a spirited show in opposition to the 2018 runners-up led by Luka Modric.
Backed by Qatar’s giant Moroccan neighborhood on the Al Bayt Stadium, the Atlas Lions adopted up North African rivals Tunisia’s sturdy efficiency in opposition to darkish horses Denmark a day earlier to frustrate Croatia.
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Coach Zlatko Dalic had urged Croatia to train warning following Saudi Arabia’s shock win over Argentina, a outcome Morocco Captain Romain Saiss mentioned had “opened the door” for the match’s less-fancied groups.
Morocco took the sport to a Croatia aspect that includes 4 gamers who began 2018 ultimate however struggled to create real possibilities in opposition to a defence marshalled by the skilled Dejan Lovren.
Azzedine Ounahi surprisingly opted in opposition to capturing when effectively positioned inside the realm, with Hakim Ziyech and Achraf Hakimi closely concerned down the fitting with out exerting undue strain on Croatia.
Ivan Perisic fired simply over from distance for Croatia after intercepting a dreadful move from Selim Amallah, whereas goalkeeper Yassine Bounou blocked effectively along with his legs to disclaim Nikola Vlasic from shut vary.
Modric, the previous Ballon d’Or winner showing at his fourth World Cup on the age of 37, then hammered over from the sting of the field.
Morocco misplaced Noussair Mazraoui early within the second half after his diving header was saved, the Bayern Munich full-back injuring himself when he tumbled awkwardly to the bottom.
Sofyan Amrabat poked Lovren’s goal-bound effort away off the road after a scramble at a nook, whereas Hakimi’s free-kick on the different finish was overwhelmed to security by Croatian keeper Dominik Livakovic.
Solely as soon as have Morocco gone past the group stage, in 1986, however they’ll charge their probabilities of advancing with video games to come back in opposition to an ageing Belgium crew and Group F outsiders Canada.
Croatia pushed for a late winner however discovered Morocco’s defence in unforgiving temper as Walid Regragui’s aspect secured a useful and deserved level.
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