Manchester Evening News



UNITED loanee Sofyan Amrabat is returning to Old Trafford after being sent off in Morocco’s surprising Africa Cup of Nations defeat on Tuesday night.

Following a sensationa­l World Cup in Qatar, where they became the first African country to reach the semi-finals, Morocco suffered second-half heartbreak against South Africa in the Round of 16.

Following a goalless first 45, the underdogs took the lead through Evidence Makgopa’s calm finish.

With six minutes to go, the Atlas Lions had the chance to equalise through Achraf Hakimi, but the PSG man’s penalty hit the crossbar. As Morocco pushed for an equaliser, they were caught on the counter in stoppage time, and Amrabat produced a profession­al foul to receive his marching orders.

Bafana Bafana sealed their progressio­n to the quarter-finals moments later, as Teboho Mokoena scored to add gloss to the scoreline. Now that Morocco has crashed out of AFCON, the Reds no longer have any representa­tives in the tournament after Andre Onana’s Cameroon were eliminated by Nigeria at the weekend.

On Sunday, Erik ten Hag confirmed Onana will be back and available for selection again on Thursday night when the Reds travel to Wolverhamp­ton Wanderers. But for Amrabat, this game in the West Midlands will likely come too soon.

It is expected the Fiorentina midfielder will return to Manchester on Wednesday, which is likely to be too short notice to feature at Molineux a day later. However, Sunday’s home clash with West Ham United could fall in good time for Amrabat to make a return to the squad.

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Sofyan Amrabat

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