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World Cup-bound Morocco and Tunisia pick up friendly wins

Morocco and Tunisia defeated Serbia and Iran respectively in international friendlies on Friday evening, as the North African duo picked up morale-boosting wins on the road to Russia.

However, Senegal were unimpressive as they were held 1-1 by Uzbekistan in Casablanca, with Moussa Konate equalising after the Teranga Lions had fallen behind.

In Turin, Morocco demonstrated their class and served a reminder of why they might be one of the tournament's dark horses with a 2-1 victory over Serbia.

The influential Hakim Ziyech opened the scoring from the penalty spot just before the half-hour mark after Nikola Maksimovic had brought down Nordin Amrabat, but the Moroccans were pegged back eight minutes later when Dusan Tadic clipped home after beating the offside trap.

It was a rare defensive lapse from Herve Renard's side, who didn't conceded a goal throughout CAF's World Cup qualifying campaign.

However, they responded well before half time, with Khalid Boutaib netting a 40th-minute back-post header from a Ziyech cross to secure a big victory for the steely Atlas Lions over some competitive European opponents.

Morocco begin their World Cup campaign against Iran on June 15, before meeting European champions Portugal in Moscow five days later. They conclude the first round against Spain in Kaliningrad on June 25.

Elsewhere, there was little to separate Tunisia and Iran for over an hour, but the game was settled in the 71st minute when Milad Mohammadi put the ball past his own goalkeeper after fine work from Wahbi Khazri.

The 1-0 win will come as a boost for the Carthage Eagles, who will meet England, Belgium and Panama in a tough World Cup draw.

In Casablanca, Uzbekistan, ranked 72nd in the world, took the lead after 20 minutes against Senegal, when Otabek Shukurov fired home from the penalty spot.

The Lions responded through Konate just after the hour mark, but Aliou Cisse will surely be frustrated with his side's inability to add to their tally, as Diafra Sakho missed a glorious late chance to secure the win.

Senegal are set to meet Bosnia-Herzegovina in Le Havre on Tuesday in their second friendly of the international break.

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