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Ziyech’s Morocco qualify for Africa Cup of Nations; Kovačić earns another cap

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Saturday internationals

Chelsea v Sheffield United: Emirates FA Cup Quarter Final Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images

It was a light(er) schedule on the international calendar as far as Chelsea players were concerned, and even those whose teams did play largely just stayed on the bench. That included Ethan Ampadu for Wales and Michy Batshuayi for Belgium.

Mateo Kovačić also started on the bench, but did come on for the final quarter of an hour as Croatia struggled past mighty Cyprus in World Cup qualifying. The game’s only goal was scored by former Chelsea loanee Mario Pašalić, heading in a loose ball from an awkward clearance.

Perhaps a more notable development from this game was Luka Modrić becoming Croatia’s all-time leader in international appearances with 135. Very nice!

(Kovačić has 65, if you’re counting, and certainly has a chance to come close in the next nine years, if he can keep up his levels, just like Modrić has.)

Another notable development from earlier was Hakim Ziyech’s Morocco becoming the latest team to qualify for next January’s Africa Cup of Nations. Morocco were held to a 0-0 draw by Mauritania on Friday, but results elsewhere meant that they were already assured of a spot at the tournament. Ziyech played the full 90.