The 2019 African Cup of Nations continued into its third day with two tournament favorites in action.
After the first two days where there were surprises and upsets, this particular matchday proved to be kind to the tournament favorites.
The Atlas Lions kick started the matchday as they faced off with Namibia in the Group D opener.
Morocco,winners in 1976, boast a crop of young and talented generation of stars who have had brilliant campaigns in the past season while Namibia were making their first AFCON appearance since 2008 in Ghana where they lost 5-1 to Morocco.
That was a different team, different era as the Namibian team had shown throughout the tournament that they had grown so much from 11 years ago. They came into this AFCON on an impressive run of warm up games, beating Ghana 1-0 in Dubai in one of the games.
The game kicked off in expected fashion as Namibia sat back, -like they did for majority of the time in the game against Ghana- and allowed Morocco to come at them. Morocco and Ajax winger ,Hakim Ziyech leading the charge with some early attempts at goal. The Namibian defence stood tall every time in that half as the Atlas Lions were denied over and over again to end the half .
The second half began the same way the first ended, with Morocco taking the initiative and Namibia happy to sit back. They had their goalkeeper Lloydt Kazapua to thank after he made save after save, including one Ziyech effort that had been deflected towards goal.
The Moroccans huffed and puffed but eventually got the winner after Ziyech played in a teasing free kick that was wrongly connected by Keimueine into his own net to give Morocco a much deserved win in their group D opener.
In the second game, Senegal took on Tanzania to open Group C ,knowing this was a must win game with Algeria to come in the next group game for the Teranga Lions.
For the first time in this year’s tournament, the underdogs played like underdogs as the Senegalese ,who played without Liverpool forward Sadio Mane due to suspension, were all over the Tanzanians.
The scoreline flattered the Tanzanians to some extent as a 2-0 result did not portray the level of dominance of the Teranga Lions mostly due to the profligacy of their number, Mbaye Niang.
The final game of the day saw Algeria dispatch Kenya in the other group C game. The golden generation of Algeria, in what looks like their final attempt to win an AFCON trophy began their tournament in fine form as they put up a disciplined display against Victor Wanyama’s Kenya side.
Bounedjah scored from the spot before Riyadh Mahrez doubled the lead 6 minutes later to give the North Africans a needed boost ahead of that crunch encounter with Senegal in their next game.
All three favorites in Matchday 3 won with a clean sheet. The tournament continues on Matchday 4 with Cote d’Ivoire facing off with South Africa, Tunisia playing Angola and Mali ending the day with a clash against Mauritania.