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Live Commentary: South Africa 2-2 Morocco - as it happened

Sports Mole's minute-by-minute commentary of a dramatic Africa Cup of Nations clash between host nation South Africa and Morocco.
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South Africa went into tonight's Group A decider with Morocco knowing that a draw would book their place in the quarter-finals.

Morocco needed all three points to progress and made an early breakthrough when Issam El Adoua headed in from close range.

South Africa equalised late in the second half through May Mahlangu but quickly fell behind again thanks to a strike from Abdelilah Elhafidi.

The Atlas Lions were stunned in the final few minutes when Siyabonga Sangweni made it 2-2 to send the host nation into the last eight.

Look back at a pulsating match with Sports Mole's minute-by-minute commentary below.


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Hello Cup of Nations fans and thanks for joining us on a day that will decide who becomes the first two teams to qualify for the quarter-finals.

Host nation South Africa are in the driving seat in Group A after taking four points from their first two matches. They meet Morocco tonight in Durban knowing they will reach the last eight if they can avoid defeat.

Morocco have flattered to deceive so far in this tournament but kept their hopes alive with a late equaliser against Cape Verde on Wednesday. They go into today's match on two points and realistically need to beat South Africa to qualify.

Cape Verde and Angola are also in action tonight, with both games kicking off at the same time due to the importance of a positive result. Let's head over to Durban and get some breaking team news from the Moses Mabhida Stadium.

BREAKING TEAM NEWS: Morocco coach Rachid Taoussi has decided to make wholesale changes after his first-choice XI failed to win either of their first two matches. Taoussi brings in six new players today, with Montpellier playmaker Younes Belhanda the most notable absentee through suspension.

South Africa are unchanged from the 2-0 win over Angola, with Katlego Mphela shurring off an injury doubt to lead the line. Here are the full starting lineup's from Durban.

SOUTH AFRICA: Khune, Ngcongca, Khumalo, Sangweni, Masilela, Mahlangu, Furman, Phala, Parker, Mphela, Rantie

MOROCCO: Lamyaghri, Achchakir, Kantari, Benatia, Barrada, El Arabi, Kadioui, El Kaoutari, El Adoua, Belghazouani, Chafn


The hosts are without injured striker Lehlohonolo Majoro are he suffered a cut to his shin in the Angola match that required stitches. The forward looked lively on Wednesday and scored just four minutes after coming off the bench.

Morocco coach Taoussi was scathing after his side's draw with Cape Verde and had this to say about his under-performing side: "We have talented footballers but sometimes lack team-work. It is a bitter reality that I am striving to change. All that is important for us now is to reach the knockout stage."

South Africa manager Gordon Igesund has insisted that his men will not play for a draw this evening despite knowing a point will ensure qualification. He said: "Playing defensive football is not my style. However, I cannot go out there and open up, leaving us vulnerable to counter-attacks. I was very happy with the team that started against Angola and happy with the way we finished that match."

Both teams have sung their national anthems in a paced Moses Moabhida Stadium. This is by far the biggest attendance at the tournament to date as the hosts are roared on by a passionate home crowd in Durban.

Here we go then and its crunch time for both sides in Group A. Morocco get us underway playing from right to left.

Conditions in Durban are wet and immediately Morocco try to take advantage by thumping the ball long. Bafana Bafana captain Khumalo struggles to clear and the Atlas Lions win a corner kick.

Morocco have made a bright start to the match and have the first shot on target through El Arabi. South Africa keeper Khune was quick off his line to close down the angle and make a smart save.

Berrada sends in a dangerous cross as Morocco continue to threaten but Oldham midifielder Dean Furman does well to clear. South Africa have struggled to gain a foothold in the match and are yet to enjoy a sustained period of possession.

South Africa striker Rantie has the first menacing run at goal for the hosts. He drives into the penalty area but goes down under a challenge from El Kaoutari. The referee takes a close look but decides there was no infringement.

GOAL South Africa 0-1 Morocco (El Adoua)

Berrada sends in another dangerous corner and this time Morocco profit to take the lead. South Africa keeper Khune decides not to come for the cross and El Adoua takes full advantage to head his side into the lead from close range.

There is a break in play almost instantly after the restart ad Benatia goes down with blood coming from his nose following a tussle with Mphela. Durban is stunned and finally Morocco have made their mark on the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations!

GROUP UPDATE! Just a quick update from the other game in Group A and Angola are currently goalless against Cape Verde. As things currently stand Morocco will top the group and South Africa will still qualify in second place but things can change quickly.

Bafana Bafana have really struggled to get creative force Bernard Parker on the ball in the early stages. His influence is vital to their chances of responding with an equaliser. Morocco quickly mount another attack and win a third corner from El Arabi's deflected strike.

CHANCE! Morroco go close to a second through Belghazaouni, who forces Khune to tip his low strike round the post after reacting quickest to Berrada's corner. South Africa are riding their luck and could have easily fallen further behind thanks to some more slack defending.

Mahlaungu drives forward for the hosts and wins a dangerous free kick 20 yards from goal under a challenge by Chafni. South Africa decide to take it short and waste the chance with a short pass.

Granada striker El Arabi has looked lively from the outset and his mix of pace and power is troubling the South Africa defence every time he gains possession.

CHANCE! South Africa create their best attack of the match as Parker darts into the box before shooting wide of the target from a tight angle. A much more lively approach there from the host nation.

Ill discipline has been a feature of South Africa's start to the match as Khumalo gives away another free kick. Berrada lines up a cross but this time his delivery is a disappointment and Sangweni has time to clear easily.

Phala sprints down the right flank and drives into the penalty area but his final touch is too heavy and the chance to cross slips away.

YELLOW CARD! The tackles are flying in thick and fast and Ngcongca picks up the first yellow card for South Africa after a late lunge on Belghazaoani.

El Arabi makes another dangerous dart into the box and only a last-ditch tackle from Sangweni stops the striker getting a free strike at goal.

South Africa quickly clear their lines and have a chance to counter with numbers flooding forward. Parker nutmegs the full-back but takes too long to pick out a pass and the hosts have to settle for a corner.

SCORE UPDATE! There has been a goal in today's other Group A game and Angola have taken the lead against Cape Verde through a Nando own goal. That strike has little impact on either side in Durban and as things stands both teams will still progress to the quarter-finals.

Morocco have a player down injured but South Africa decide to carry on playing. The hosts build a patient attack but Mphela decides to try an overhead kick from Parker's cross and fails to make contact.

CHANCE! South Africa are finally starting to control possession, with Morocco happy to drop deeper and invite pressure. The Atlas Lions come close to doubling their advantage on the break through Chafni. The midfielder is through on goal but Khune races out of goal to make a vital interception.

Morocco clear their lines through Kantari and look desperate to hear the half-time whistle. South Africa launch a long ball into the box but Mphela can't win the header. The hosts are handed a late change as Belghazouani handles out wide to give away a free kick.

Atlas Lions skipper Lamyaghri comes well out of his goal to catch an aimless cross and ensure Morocco go into the break with a one-goal advantage.

HALF-TIME South Africa 0-1 Morocco

Morocco made a bright start to a must-win match in Durban and merit their half-time advantage after taking advantage of some sloppy defending from South Africa. The host nation were disappointing in the early stages and now have it all to do after the the break.

Both teams like to play on the counter but South Africa will be forced to press the action in the second half in search of an equaliser. Expect to see Morocco sit deep and look to send El Arabi clear with long diagonal passes.

As things stand at the interval both sides will qualify for the last eight with Angola leading Cape Verde by a single goal. South Africa are level on points with Angola but have a superior goal difference and a better head-to-head record.

South Africa may need to call upon the services of forgotten man Siphiwe Tshabalala. The man best remembered for scoring the 2010 World Cup's opening goal was dropped for Wednesday's match against Angola and publicly slammed by the manager for his recent displays. All will be forgiven if he can come on draw Bafana Bafana level.

Morocco have plenty of their own attacking options in reserve should things take a turn for the worse. Liverpool winger Oussama Assaidi is the most notable player on their bench.

Bafana Bafana get the second half underway and give away possession almost instantly. Morocco break forward and have an early penalty shout turned down that looked relatively innocuous.

Phala finds space out wide and flashes a ball across goal but South Africa's front two are slow to react and Lamyaghri has time to collect. The winger is furious with his strikers for not making a positive run.

SUBSTITUTION: South Africa decide to make their first change early in the second half. Ajax youngster Serero is on in place of target man Mphela.

SAVE! Lamyaghri is forced to dive high to his right and just tips Bernard Parker's curling free kick round the post. Encouraging signs at last for the host nation.

SUBSTITUTION: Morocco decide the time is right for their first change as Kaddioui makes away for Elhafdi. A conservative change for the Atlas Lions as they look to preserve their slender advantage.

Parker has taken up a more advanced central position since the break and looks to have played Rantie through on goal but the striker is halted by an offside flag.

CHANCE! El Arabi has missed an absolute sitter to put Morocco two goals to the good. The striker reacts quickest to Khumalo's heavy touch and races through on goal without any pressure. The striker has time and space but does not get enough purchase on his attempted chip and allows Khune to make an important save.

SUBSTITUTION: Morocco decide Belghanzouani has done enough and swap the left winger for full-back Zakaria Bergdich. A very defensive change for the Atlas Lions who now effectively have six defenders on the field.

BOOKING! Morocco midfielder Chafni earns a yellow card for dissent after reacting angrily to being penalised for a tussle with Parker.

SAVE! From the free kick Parker sends in a dangerous cross that needs to be touched behind by Lamyaghri for a corner kick.

South Africa give away possession three time in less than a minute and allow Morocco to clear their lines. The visitors take the chance to break and work Chafni into a dangerous position but his strike goes well wide of the target.

GOAL! South Africa 1-1 Morocco (Mahlangu)

In the blink of an eye the Group A standings change thanks to stunning goal from Mahlangu. One of the goals of the tournament from the midfielder, who cuts inside before curling an unstoppable strike into the top corner. Morocco are suddenly crashing out of the tournament with just over 15 minutes to change their position.

DOUBLE BOOKING! In the aftermath Elhafidi is booked for dissent before Parker quickly becomes the fifth player to be booked for arguing with today's unpopular referee from Gabon.

SUBSTITUTIONS: Morocco have one change left and throw on striker El Hamdaoui, who has not scored for his country in over two years. South Africa also make a change and opt to introduce Letsholonyane for Parker to shore things up.

South Africa's equaliser has put Angola into a qualifying spot in Group A with the Antelopes leading Cape Verde 1-0 in tonight's other match.

Morocco have to throw everything forward and find a goal or their tournament is over. Berrada needs to get back on the ball for the Atlas Lions as he did to deadly effect in the early stages.

GOAL! South Africa 1-2 Morocco (Namli)

What drama in Durban as Morocco surge forward to go back ahead thanks to a composed finish by Mehdi Namli. The midfielder had time and space to control the cutback and drive past Khune to put the Atlas Lions 2-1 ahead.

SCORE UPDATE! Over in Port Elizabth Cape Verde have equalised against Angola. After a frantic few minute Group A now has Morocco in pole position with South Africa still qualifying in second place. Five minutes left to play in both matches and there is still time for things to change.

GOAL! South Africa 2-2 Morocco (Sangweni)

Can you believe it? Another stunning equaliser for Bafana Bafana and this time its the defender Sangweni who bursts forward to curl in his second goal in as many games.

Morocco have gone through every possible emotion this evening but thanks to Cape Verde's equaliser will currently still go through by virtue of goals scored. The Cup of Nations has come alive today and a topsy-turvy finish to Group A is not over just yet.

SCORE UPDATE! News of a goal from Port Elizabeth that will break Moroccan hearts. Cape Verde have scored a late winner and will now qualify for the last eight in they can hang on in stoppage time. The Atlas Lions must find a winning goal or they are now out. Wow this has been frantic finish to Group A that seems to change with each passing minute. The fourth official has awarded four added minutes back in Durban.

The full-time whistle has gone in Port Elizabth and Cape Verde have recorded a 2-1 comeback win over Angola. Morocco coach Taoussi looks a broken man on the touchline and his team must dig deep in stoppage time or they will be eliminated.

South Africa smash clear and Phala drives down the wing to win a throw deep in the final third to eat up crucial seconds.

FULL-TIME South Africa 2-2 Morocco

Jubilant scenes for the host nation as they stay alive courtesy of a late equaliser from Sangweni. Morocco played well throughout and came close to qualifying but were ultimately undone by a late lapse in concentration.

South Africa have finished top of Group A with five points and will be joined in the quartet-finals by Cape Verde on a day of high drama in the Cup of Nations.

That brings to end a pulsating day of coverage from Durban. Thanks for joining Sports Mole and be sure to join us again soon as the Africa Cup of Nations heads towards the knockout stages.

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South Africa's Siyabonga Sangweni is congratulated by team mates after scoring the opener in the Africa Cup of Nations match against Angola on January 23, 2013
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