Morocco hit by injuries ahead of Serbia showdown


Morocco are enduring a testing build-up to their international friendly against Serbia on Friday following the withdrawals of three players due to injury.

The Atlas Lions continue their World Cup preparation in Turin, where they will face Serbia on Friday as Herve Renard looks to add the finishing touches to his Russia-bound squad.

They then return to Casablanca to take on Uzbekistan on Tuesday, in an opportunity for Renard’s assembled team to demonstrate what they’re capable of ahead of his final 23-man squad selection for the global showpiece.

However, the North African heavyweights will be without goalkeeper Yassine Bounou, midfielder Youssef Ait Bennasser and right-back Achraf Hakimi after the trio pulled out through injury.

“Youssef Ait Bennasser and Yassine Bounou came here to Turin in order to pass the medical exams to confirm their unavailability for 10 days,” Morocco national team doctor Abderrazak Hifti told Le360.

“They’re forfeiting [the match] and will leave the group.”

Real Madrid’s Hakimi has also left the squad after picking up an injury during the Lions’ first training session of the international break.

Morocco qualified for the World Cup – their first since 1998 – after advancing past the Ivory Coast, Gabon and Mali in their qualifying group.

They begin their campaign against Iran in Saint Petersburg on June 15 before ominous bouts with European champions Portugal in Moscow on June 20 and Spain in Kaliningrad five days later.

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