Morocco got their 2018 Chan campaign off to a winning start as they defeated Mauritania 4-0 in the opening Group A match in Casablanca on Saturday night.
The Atlas Lions had to be patient at the Stade Mohamed V, but after breaking the deadlock through Ayoub El Kaabi midway through the second half they were on the path for a comprehensive victory.
Morocco dominated from the get-go and ‘Les Mourabitounes’ needed a couple of good interventions from defenders Sidi Mohamed Bilal and Mohamed Wade to keep the hosts at bay.
Six minutes later El Haddad made it 2-0 after cutting inside from the right and sending a shot into the net via the hand of the Mauritania gloves-man, while El Kaabi netted his second in the 80th with a well-placed shot.
There was still time in the dying minutes for Morocco to add a fourth as substitute Achraf Bencharki showed his class by rounding the ‘keeper before scooping home a shot from a tight angle to complete the scoring.
The teams will be in action again on January 17, with Morocco facing Guinea, while Mauritania will take on Sudan.
Morocco (0) 4 (Ayoub El Kaabi 66’ 80’, Ismail El Haddad 72’, Achraf Bencharki 90+2’)
Morocco: 1. Anas Zniti, 4. Nayef Aguerd, 13. Badr Benoun (6. Badr Boulahroud 87’), 16. Mohamed Nahiri, 20. Abdeljalil Jbira, 7. Zakaria Hadraf (17. Achraf Bencharki 75’), 8. Salaheddine Saidi, 19. El Mehdi Barrahma, 18. Abdelilah Hafidi, 11. Ismail El Haddad, 9. Ayoub El Kaabi (10. Walid El Karti 82’)
Mauritania: 1. Souleimane Brahim, 4. Mohamed Wade, 5. Sidi Mohamed Bilal, 6. Lemrabot El Hacen, 15. Oumare Mangane, 11. Moulayeahmed Khalil, 17. Moussa Baghayoko, 20. Samba Moussa (7. Hemeya Tanjy 77’), 21. Abdou Mbark El Id (18. Abdoulaye Sileye 73’), 23. Abdoulaye Gaye, 19. Elycheikh Samba El Voullany (9. Karamokho Traore 61’)