Morocco narrowly defeated Ghana in their Africa Cup of Nations opener thanks to Sofiane Boufal’s 82nd-minute goal.

The former Southampton winger pounced on a loose ball and smashed a shot into the far corner.

In an otherwise uneventful game in Yaounde, four-time champions Ghana frustrated their opponents with a rare moment of quality.

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Morocco was unfazed in the final stages, coasting to victory.

The North Africans came into the game having won all six of their World Cup qualifiers the previous year, but they had to earn their three points.

In a tight first half, Wolverhampton Wanderers defender Romain Saiss had gone close for the Atlas Lions, heading narrowly off target.

For all of Morocco’s possession, Vahid Halilhodzic’s side were nearly behind in the 73rd minute when keeper Yassine Bounou brilliantly stopped Joseph Paintsil’s curler.

Black Stars captain Andre Ayew also came close with a looping volley, only for Angers’ Boufal to score the game-winner minutes later at the other end.

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Morocco nearly doubled their lead in the closing stages after taking the lead, with Samy Mmaee heading a set-piece just wide.

On Friday, Morocco takes on debutants Comoros, followed by Ghana’s match against Gabon.

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