Morocco have made history as they secure their spot in the 2022 Qatar World Cup semi-finals after their 1-0 win over Portugal.
History was written at the magnificent Al Thumama Stadium in Doha, Qatar when they became the first African nation to book their place in the semi-final after playing in the first quarter final game of the tournament.
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 European side in a pulsating end-to-end game.
The win now places Morocco in the prime position to be the first African country to raise Africa to world recognition.
Morocco’s goalkeeper Yassine Bounou saved a shot by Portugal’s forward Ronaldo during the quarter-final match.
Morocco have surpassed the three other African sides to reach the quarter-finals – Cameroon in 1990, Senegal in 2002 and Ghana in 2010.
Portugal did not relent with their attacks after the half time 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.
Morocco enjoyed another infamous win 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,December 14th.
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.