World Cup semi-finalists Morocco are aiming to maintain their 100% start at AFCON 2023, but they face trickier opponents this weekend. We look ahead to this game with our Morocco vs DR Congo prediction and preview.
Morocco vs DR Congo: Pre-Match Facts
- The Opta supercomputer is predicting a Morocco win in this match; they won 57.7% of our pre-match simulations.
- This will be the sixth encounter between Morocco and DR Congo at the CAF Africa Cup of Nations, with all five previous meetings taking place in the group stages. Only Egypt and Nigeria have met more often in the first round/group stages of the tournament (7).
- The head-to-head between Morocco and DR Congo at the Africa Cup of Nations is perfectly balanced, with one win each, three draws and four goals each. Morocco’s last victory dates back to 1976 against what was then Zaire (1-0). Meanwhile, DR Congo won their most recent encounter in 2017 (1-0).
- No team has ever scored more than one goal in the five previous AFCON encounters between Morocco and DR Congo.
- Since they lost 1-0 to DR Congo in their opening group match in 2017, Morocco have won eight of their nine AFCON group matches (D1), keeping seven clean sheets in this run.
- DR Congo have won only four of their last 21 AFCON matches (D11 L6), although they are unbeaten in their last three (W1 D2).
- Morocco’s 3-0 win over Tanzania on MD 1 was their biggest win at the Africa Cup of Nations since a 5-1 victory over Namibia in 2008, which was also on MD 1 of the group stage; at that year’s tournament, Morocco then lost their next two group games and were eliminated.
- DR Congo had more shots on MD 1 of this year’s AFCON than any other team (25), although they scored just one goal from an xG of 2.54. Only Nigeria (1 goal, 3.52 xG) underperformed more based on expected goals across MD 1.
- Morocco were the only side on MD 1 of the 2023 AFCON to restrict their opponents – Tanzania – to no shots on target. They only faced two shots, with those efforts having an accumulative xG value of just 0.03.
- Youssef En-Nesyri has netted five AFCON goals for Morocco, with those goals coming over four different tournaments (1 in 2017, 2 in 2019, 1 in 2022, 1 in 2024). Only Ahmed Faras (6) has ever scored more goals at the AFCON for the Atlas Lions.
- DR Congo’s Cédric Bakambu has been involved in four goals in his last three games at the Africa Cup of Nations (3 goals, 1 assist), providing the assist for Yoane Wissa’s goal against Zambia on MD 1.
Morocco enter Matchday 2 at the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations with expectations only growing about their chances of glory. They have only won the competition once before – back in 1976 – and have also only made the final on one other occasion (2004), so they don’t have much AFCON pedigree, but their current team is arguably their greatest ever.
Following on from finishing fourth at the World Cup in Qatar, Morocco are among the tournament favourites in the Ivory Coast and will have only strengthened any belief in their chances with a hugely convincing 3-0 win over Tanzania on MD 1 in Group F.
They will come up against stronger opposition in this tournament, but having kept their opponents to only two shots and a total of just 0.03 xG, they showed just how defensively sound this team is. It was that defence upon which their remarkable World Cup run was built, and it will be key to their progress at AFCON 2023, too.
They will do very well to keep their opponents as quiet here given DR Congo had a tournament-high 25 shots on MD 1. They could only find the net once, though, and were made to pay for their profligacy, ending up drawing their match against Zambia 1-1 despite their opponents generating just 0.2 xG from three shots.
DR Congo have plenty of attacking talent, with Brentford’s Yoane Wissa – scorer of their only goal at AFCON 2023 so far – and Galatasaray’s Cédric Bakambu leading the line. They have a tough task on their hands against Morocco, but they will believe they have enough in their ranks to cause any opponent problems. Wissa alone had six shots worth a combined total of 1.29 xG on MD 1.
DR Congo have won the AFCON twice before – in 1968 as Congo-Kinshasa and in 1974 as Zaire – so they are the more successful side in this competition. They come into this game very much as underdogs, though, and will have to be at their best to get anything from it.
Morocco vs DR Congo Head-to-Head
These sides are well acquainted with one another at the Africa Cup of Nations. This will be their sixth AFCON meeting, with all five of their previous encounters also coming in the group stage; only Egypt and Nigeria (seven) have met on more occasions in the AFCON group stage.
Each side has won one of those previous five meetings, with three games ending in a draw. Games between these two tend to be low-scoring, with only eight goals scored in their five meetings (four apiece), and neither side ever having scored more than once in any of those matches.
DR Congo got the better of their last AFCON meeting with Morocco, coming out 1-0 victors in 2017, but the sides have met more recently. They played out a World Cup qualifying play-off in 2022, with the first leg ending in a 1-1 draw. However, Morocco showed their superiority in the second leg, winning 4-1 to secure their place at the final tournament in Qatar, and we all know what happened after that.
Morocco vs DR Congo Prediction
Morocco are favourites to win this match, with the Opta supercomputer playing out a win for the North Africans in 57.7% of its 10,000 pre-match simulations. DR Congo, meanwhile, won 21.2% of the time, leaving 21.1% drawn.
In the week leading up to AFCON 2023, our pre-tournament predictions had Morocco as third favourites to lift the trophy. However, at the time of writing, they have crept up to the lead the way as most likely AFCON 2023 winners, winning the tournament in 15.6% of the supercomputer’s latest 10,000 simulations.
DR Congo, on the other hand, are a mid-ranked team in terms of their chances of winning another AFCON title. Their opening-round 1-1 draw with Zambia has left their chances on the same level as they were before a ball was kicked (2.4%).
Below are the current, up-to-date chances of progression through AFCON 2023 for both sides according to the Opta supercomputer:
Morocco vs DR Congo Squads
Morocco: Munir Mohamedi, Yassine Bounou, Mehdi Benabid, Nayef Aguerd, Achraf Hakimi, Romain Saïss, Chadi Riad, Yahya Attiat-Allah, Abdel Abqar, Yunis Abdelhamid, Noussair Mazraoui, Mohamed Chibi, Sofyan Amrabat, Hakim Ziyech, Amir Richardson, Selim Amallah, Oussama El Azzouzi, Amine Harit, Azzedine Ounahi, Bilal El Khannouss, Sofiane Boufal, Youssef En-Nesyri, Abde Ezzalzouli, Ismael Saibari, Tarik Tissoudali, Amine Adli, Ayoub El Kaabi.
Coach: Walid Regragui
DR Congo: Baggio Siadi, Lionel Mpasi, Dimitry Bertaud, Arthur Masuaku, Henock Inonga, Chancel Mbemba, Rocky Bushiri, Joris Kayembe, Dylan Batubinsika, Gédéon Kalulu, Gaël Kakuta, Brian Bayeye, Grady Diangana, Samuel Moutoussamy, Aaron Tshibola, Charles Pickel, Yoane Wissa, Simon Banza, Meschack Elia, Fiston Mayele, Théo Bongonda, Silas Katompa Mvumpa, Cédric Bakambu.
Coach: Sébastien Desabre