DOHA: Sabiri strategically aimed for the net from a far fetched angle in the 73rd minute, beating Thibaut Courtois at his near post, just before Aboukhlal converted Hakim Ziyech’s delivery to seal a momentous win in second-half stoppage time.
While Morocco’s foothold in the game was quite gradual, the majority of the Stadium dominated by the fans of Morocco’s team, were piqued when Ziyech’s free-kick was blocked off by VAR – developing a sense of injustice that carried through to the second period.
Belgium were comparatively labored throughout, offering very little threat from their star marksmen, as Kevin De Bruyne, Eden Hazard and brother Thorgan were all stifled by Morocco’s steely determination.
The premise that this is a tournament beyond the reach of Roberto Martinez’s ‘golden generation’ – most of whom are now edging over the age of 30 – is beginning to steadily ring.
The north Africans join Saudi Arabia and Japan, the conquerors of Argentina and Germany respectively, in upsetting the odds to stun opponents who, conventionally, have enjoyed long-established victories in the world of football.
Belgium starting XI: Courtois; Meunier, Vertonghen, Alderweireld, Castagne; Witsel, Onana;
Thorgan Hazard, De Bruyne, Eden Hazard; Batshuayi.
Morocco starting XI: Bono; Hakimi, Saïss, Aguerd, Mazraoui; Amrabat, Ounahi, Amallah; Boufal, En-Nesyri, Ziyech.sources:theathletic/sportsndtv