Preview: Egypt v Morocco

North African giants Egypt and Morocco will write another chapter in their long-standing rivalry when they clash in a 2017 AFCON quarter-final match at the Stade de Port-Gentil on Sunday night.%u200B

Morocco boss Herve Renard is looking for a third AFCON title after winning the competition with Zambia in 2012 and Ivory Coast in 2015.
 
He has seen his team shrugging off a poor start in Gabon – a 1-0 defeat to DR Congo, before storming back with wins over Togo and defending champions Ivory Coast.
 
Hector Cuper's Egyptian side started with a 0-0 draw with Mali before edging Uganda 1-0 and then ending their group campaign with a morale-boosting 1-0 victory over one of the tournament favourites, Ghana.
 
Historically though the seven-time AFCON-winning Pharaohs do not enjoy a great record against their north African counterparts – they have lost 13 and won only two of 26 previous encounters, 11 of which have been draws.
 
While Egypt boast Roma forward Mohamed Salah and the likes of Mohamed Elneny (Arsenal) and Ramadan Sobhi (Stoke City) in their side, it's been a tight defence upon which their campaign has been run, as they are yet to concede a goal.
 
Veteran keeper Essam El-Hadary, 44, has been highly impressive after injuries to both Ahmed El-Shennawy and Sherif Ekramy elevated him to the starting XI.
 
According to Egypt's assistant coach Mahmoud Fayez, Cuper feels Morocco are amongst the best teams at AFCON.
 
"Cuper sees the game against Morocco is the hardest game in the tournament for two reasons," Fayez told FilGoal.
 
"The first reason is that losing to Morocco means leaving the tournament directly, while the second is that Morocco national team is the strongest in the AFCON with tactics as well as individual performance of the players," he added.
 
Renard though has been keen to play down the chances of an Atlas Lions side which has won the competition once before, back in 1976.
 
"Definitely, Morocco are not favourites to win the tournament, there are better teams than us. But we are still in it and we will give it our best shot," he said.
 
Apart from the two Pharaohs goalkeepers, both sides should have full-strength squads available.

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