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LIVE, Africa Cup of Nations: Morocco v. Ivory Coast; Tunisia in action

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The group stage of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations has reached an intriguing stage, as plenty of teams begin to punch their tickets in the Round of 16.

[ LIVE: Africa Cup of Nations scores ]

With the 24-team format allowing the top four third-place teams to also advance, there is still so much to play for across these group games.

In Group D two giants collide as Morocco face the Ivory Coast with Aston Villa’s Jonathan Kodjia (who scored their winner against South Africa earlier this week) and Crystal Palace’s Wiflried Zaha the leading men for the Elephants, while Southampton’s Sofiane Boufal played well for the Atlas Lions in their win against Namibia. South Africa and Namibia then face off in Group D and both teams lost their opening games, so a win here would be huge for their hopes of getting out of the group.

Group E sees Tunisia and Mali collide, with the latter top of the group and Tunisia in desperate need of a win after drawing their opening group game against Angola. Southampton’s new signing Moussa Djenepo is one of Mali’s key players, and Tunisia will be wary of his dribbling ability on the break.

Below is the full schedule for the AFCON action on Friday, while you can follow all of the action live by clicking on the link above.

2019 Africa Cup of Nations schedule – Friday, June 28

Group D
Morocco v. Ivory Coast – 1 p.m. ET
South Africa v. Namibia – 4 p.m. ET

Group E
Tunisia v. Mali – 10:30 a.m. ET

Morocco skirts past Namibia on late own-goal

Associated Press
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Morocco started its Africa Cup of Nations journey noticeably flat, but still managed to snatch all three points late as a heartbreaking Itamunua Keimuine own-goal in the 89th minute saw Morocco top Namibia 1-0.

Namibia was in a defensive shell the entire match, and they succeeded in frustrating Hakim Ziyech and company. Morocco held 67% of possession and ripped off 17 shots, but could only put five of them on target in the blistering Egypt heat. Morocco head coach Herve Renard made the questionable decision not to start Sofiane Boufal, but brought him on for the final half-hour in the hope of electrifying the favorites.

It had little effect and Namibia remained defensively solid, until conceding in the final ticks off the clock. A Ziyech free-kick from a great distance out swung in, and having evaded every attacker and defender, it fell to the last Namibian defender on the line Itamunua Keimuine who accidentally headed it into his own net.

The final result was probably deserved, as Monaco had far more attacking intent, out-passing Namibia 491 to 182 and holding them without a shot on target. Still, Renard will hope the chances come in a more consistent fashion next time out as Morocco has tough games against South Africa and Ivory Coast remaining in Group D play.