DOHA: Morocco became the first African team ever to reach the semi-finals of the World Cup after defeating Portugal 1-0 on Saturday Dec,10.
Youssef En-Nesyri’s first-half header secured a historic win for Morocco, who will play defending champions France or England for a place in the final. Morocco have surpassed the three other African sides to reach the quarter-finals — Cameroon in 1990, Senegal in 2002 and Ghana in 2010.
Cristiano Ronaldo was brought on early in the second half after Morocco scored in late in the first but Portugal have been unable to find a way past them. Morocco are yet to allow an opposition player to score a goal against them in this tournament, with the only goal they have conceded so far being an own goal and Portugal are now desperately trying to break that run to avoid getting knocked out.
Meanwhile, Morocco midfielders Sofiane Boufal and Azzedine Ounahi made the difference throughout the game, and replacement defender Yahia Attiyat Allah also put forth a massive effort. Morocco captain Romain Saiss came off injured in the second half, and substitute Walid Cheddira was sent off in injury time, but it made no difference as the African nation remained solid in shape and structure. Goalkeeper Yassine Bounou was also enormous, making a number of huge saves to keep the clean sheet and secure qualification where they’ll face the winner of England vs. France.
Morocco: Yassine Bounou, Achraf Hakimi, Romain Saiss, Sofyan Amrabat, Selim Amallah, Azzedine Ounahi, Hakim Ziyech, Soufiane Boufal, Youssef En-Nesyri, Jawad Yamiq, Yahya Attiat-Alla
Portugal: Diogo Costa, Diogo Dalot, Pepe, Ruben Dias, Raphael Guerreiro, Bruno Fernandes, Otavio, Bernardo Silva, Joao Felix, Goncalo Ramos, Ruben Neves
(sources: texts compiled from ndtvnews/hindustantimes/sportingnews)