Historic Morocco beat Portugal, zoom into W’Cup semi-finals
Written by admin on December 12, 2022
Ten-man Morocco made history at the magnificent Al Thumama Stadium in Doha, Qatar when they became the first African nation to book their place in the semi-finals of the World Cup.
In the first quarter final game of the day, Youssef En-Nesyri scored the winning goal by jumping above Portugal goalkeeper Diogo Costa to meet a cross from Yahia Attiyat Allah with a towering header in the 42nd minute to give the North African country a shocking victory over Cristiano Ronaldo’s much-fancied European side in a pulsating end-to-end game.
Morocco, now Africa’s pride, is the hope of the continent in the ongoing World Cup.
Morocco’s goalkeeper Yassine Bounou saved a shot by Portugal’s forward Ronaldo during the quarter-final match.
Morocco became the first African team ever to reach the semi-finals of the World Cup after defeating Portugal 1-0 on Saturday.
Morocco have surpassed the three other African sides to reach the quarter-finals – Cameroon in 1990, Senegal in 2002 and Ghana in 2010.
Portugal piled on the pressure after the break but an injury-hit Morocco, without three of their four first-choice defenders once skipper Romain Saiss was forced off, hung on despite being reduced to 10 men in added time.
The partisan crowd undoubtedly helped the North Africans over the line, although Portugal struggled to create many clear-cut chances as they lost a World Cup quarter-final for the first time.
AFP also reported that the five-time Ballon d’Or winner Ronaldo was sent on early in the second half by coach Fernando Santos but could not rescue the Euro 2016 winners.
Instead it was another famous day for Morocco, after previous upset wins over Belgium and Spain, on penalties, in Qatar.
Walid Regragui’s men will face England or holders France in the semi-finals at Al Bayt Stadium on Wednesday.
Morocco will believe they can topple either of those sides, having still only conceded once at this World Cup.
Portugal enjoyed the majority of possession in the opening half-hour, but Joao Felix’s fifth-minute diving header, saved by goalkeeper Yassine Bounou, was the closest either side came to an early goal.
Morocco always looked dangerous, though, and Selim Amallah ballooned a shot over and Sofiane Boufal curled straight at Diogo Costa for the Africans.