Azzedine Ounahi, the revelation of the Atlas Lions

Azzedine Ounahi applauded by his coach Walid Regragui, after yet another attempt, during the round of 16 of the 2022 World Cup won against Spain, at the Education City stadium in Al-Rayyan, on December 6.

Luis Enrique is not one to play sore losers. Defeated in the round of 16 of the World Cup by Morocco (0-0, 3-0 on penalties), the now ex-Spanish coach – and “streamer” in his spare time on the Twitch platform – particularly praised a player from the the opponent. “I was pleasantly surprised by number 8. I don’t remember his name, I’m sorry. My God, where did this boy come from? He played very well. » Due to his activity, the number 8 in question, Azzedine Ounahi, had put his two midfielders Gavi-Pedri, often presented as the successors of the golden duo Xavi-Iniesta, under the extinguisher.

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Next opponents of the Atlas Lions in the quarter-finals of the Qatari World Cup, Saturday, December 10 (4 p.m., metropolitan time), Portugal and its quartet of creative circles will certainly have looked at Ounahi, one of the revelations of the tournament, at least in the eyes of certain observers – including the most sophisticated – who seem to have discovered the potential of the Moroccan collective in Qatar. A team that, in case of victory, could become the first representative of an African country to progress to the last four of a World Cup.

In the Education City stadium, in the middle of the university district on the outskirts of Doha, the 22-year-old Moroccan improvised as a teacher for La Roja. Playing as a right midfielder, the SCO Angers player gave a football lesson to a Spanish eleven locked in possession that night, at their coach’s suggestion – making over 1,000 passes during the part, for a single shot on goal. Due to his relentless activity (14.71 kilometers covered in 119 minutes) and his carnage (32 successful passes and 9 balls recovered), the said “boy” contributed enormously to the disruption of the Spanish mechanics.

Passed through Strasbourg and Avranches

In extra time, it was still Azzedine Ounahi who went on to sow discord in the opposing camp to launch his teammate Walid Cheddira in front of goal, in the 104e minute. “His strength is that towards the end of the game the players had less and less energy. He still had enough to blend into the surface once or twice, analysis for The world his former trainer in Avranches (Manche) Frédéric Reculeau. I’m not surprised. He is a boy who must express himself through his volume of play. In matches, he exploded all the scores in terms of GPS data. »

Fifth most requested player since the start of the World Cup by Moroccan coach Walid Regragui, behind captain Romain Saiss and the untouchable Achraf Hakimi, Hakim Ziyech and Sofyan Amrabat, Azzedine Ounahi has earned his stripes with the Atlas Lions. Express confirmation for a player who honored his first cap in January 2022 and played in National, the third division of French football, a year and a half ago.

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