Canada’s first action following it’s failure to advance to the CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying Hexagonal ended with decidedly mixed results as Canada split two friendly matches played in Marrakech, Morocco, the second of which was a 4-0 loss today to the hosts. Hakim Ziyech scored two penalty kick goals for Morocco and Canada ended the game without starting goalkeeper Milan Borjan, who departed in the second half with an injury.
Coming off a 4-0 victory over Mauritania on Thursday in the same stadium in the debut of interim coach Michael Findlay, Canada quickly found out that things would be a little more difficult against the hosts. They were stunned to fall behind in the 12th minute on a goal by Mehdi Carcela-Gonzalez, who chested down a deflected cross from Hamza Mendyl and powered a left-footed shot past Borjan.
And truthfully, the visitors were fortunate to be trailing by just 1-0 at halftime. Borjan made three saves in the first 45 minutes — one or two of them difficult and timely — and Morocco had a reasonable claim for a penalty in the 44th minute, when Carcela-Gonzalez cut into the box from the left side and appeared to be fouled by Canada’s Marcel de Jong on the edge of the box. Replays were inconclusive as to whether the contact between de Jong and Carcela-Gonzalez, who went down heavily, came inside or just outside the box, but the referee didn’t call a foul of any sort.
Things didn’t get much better for Canada in the second half — Morocco appeared to double its lead in the 62nd minute, when Youssef En-Nesyri slipped behind the defense and beat Borjan, but the referee’s assistant ruled En-Nesyri offside. Two minutes later, though, Canada captain David Edgar was yellow-carded for an elbow to the head of En-Nesyri as the two contested a header in the box. Ziyech buried the ensuing penalty kick, calmly floating it right up the middle as Borjan dove to his left.
Borjan’s day would end soon after that, as he was forced to leave the game with what appeared to be a left knee injury, shortly after making a save. He limped off in the 71st minute and was replaced by backup goalkeeper Simon Thomas.
Ten minutes later, Ziyech would score his second penalty, after Manjrekar James was called for fouling substitute Aziz Bouhaddouz in the box. This time, Ziyech, a left-footer, put the ball to the left of Thomas, as the goalkeeper dove the wrong way.
Morocco’s Rachid Alioui made it 4-0 when he volleyed a cross from Faycal Fajr off Canada’s Edgar and in past Thomas.