Smarting from a 1-1 first leg draw at home against Senegal, Morocco are upbeat about avoiding a fourth-round exit when they visit their West African counterparts in Thies on Saturday.

The Moroccans avoided an on-the-field upset at Stade Moulay Hassan on 22 January as Hapsatou Diallo handed the visitors an away goal but Sofia Bouftini rescued the hosts from defeat.

Following the stalemate in Rabat, coach Patrick Cordoba has recounted his struggle and lessons from the first leg encounter.

“The players had a good match in the first leg, they dominated the meeting but the realization was not there,” Cordoba exclusively told CAFOnline.com.

“The result is not a reflection of the meeting we created a lot of chances of unrealized goals. I have been working with the girls for a year now and the individual and collective progress is considerable.

“My staff and I have led the girls to a very good level thanks to intense and targeted daily work. The cohesion of the group, the will to progress and the irrepressible desire to win allowed them to reach their current level.

“Their involvement and their significant room for improvement to become more efficient and competitive are essential to reach the highest level.”

Ahead of the second leg at Stade Lat-Dior, coach Cordoba spoke on his side’s readiness and is not troubled by worries about their chances of reaching the final round for the first time.

“It’s very good atmosphere reigns within the group which allows the players to work calmly and to invest 100%. The will to win is there, the players are determined to qualify,” he further said.

“I thank the Royal Moroccan Football Federation president for the significant efforts made for the progress and well-being of the players. This support has allowed us to take advantage of excellent conditions to reach an unprecedented level in just eight months and to pursue our goal of participating in the World Cup.

“The group remains focused on this objective. I do not consider this match as a shocking match but rather as an essential step in the pursuit of our ambition for the World Cup.

“The return match will be similar in spirit to the first leg. We will stick to our principles. We know what it takes to qualify. We have worked a lot in this direction. The team will make every effort to win and qualify us, it is the objective that drives us.

“The cohesion of the group, the will to progress and the irrepressible desire to win allowed them to reach their current level. Their involvement and their significant room for improvement to become more efficient and competitive are essential to reach the highest level.”

The Moroccan delegation to the West African nation will be keen for a positive second leg result in a bid to reach the final stage on Saturday and also earn a final round date with either Nigeria or Cameroon.