Namibia striker Itamunua Keimune scored at the wrong end of the pitch as the Southern Africans lost 1-0 to Morocco in their Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) Group D opener at the Al Salam Stadium, in Cairo, on Sunday.
The Brave Warriors looked well on course to collect a valuable point against one of the tournament’s favourites, but Keimune headed the ball into his own net with only two minutes left on the clock as he tried to defend a Hakim Ziyech free-kick.
The Southern Africans had lived by their name, holding their own against the Moroccans for most of the match before the single moment of error gifted the Atlas Lions three valuable points.
Coach Herve Renard’s men had struggled to break down a resolute Namibian defence and often tried their luck on set pieces, one of which gave the desired result late on.
They had the chances to score especially in the second half with Sofiane Boufal coming on, but luck never stood their end until the own goal.
The Atlas Lions camped in Namibia’s half passing the ball around with ease while Namibia stuck to their defensive lines. They had their first chance in the 10th minute, when Nabil Dibar tried his luck from distance with the Namibian keeper smothering the effort behind for a corner.
Namibia responded on the other end with a similar chance, but skipper Ronald Ketjijere lifted his effort a bit over the bar.
Hakim Ziyech was enterprising for the Atlas Lions in attack and had two chances, first shooting just wide from the edge of the box after the defence failed to clear the ball in the 23rd minute.
Nine minutes to the break, the Ajax Amsterdam forward picked the ball from distance before dancing away from his markers, but the eventual bullet off his boot flew straight to the keeper.
Morocco added more pressure in the second half with Ziyech again coming close in the 72nd minute, but Namibian keeper Loydt Kazapua saved with his feet after the striker’s effort was deflected by the defence.
The introduction of Southampton striker Sofiane Boufal spiced up Morocco’s attack. Twice, Ziyech slalomed into shooting range, but he could not wrap his boot around the ball well to direct it into the net.
From a set piece in the 88th minute, Ziyech struck in an in-swinging freekick and Keimune, in a bid to clear off ended up directing it past his own keeper.
In partnership with ANA and Mediapix