DOHA – Morocco stunned Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal 1-0 to advance to FIFA World Cup 2022 semi-final in Qatar on Saturday.
Strong Portugal continued to fight but eventually could not find a way through as Morocco’s out-fought favorite Portugal, with Youssef En-Nesyri being commended as the man behind today’s victory.
Shortly after the end of the first half, En-Nesyri’s towering header made the most of a cross from left-back Yahya Attiat. Moroccans started cheering as soon as the header deceived Portuguese keeper Costa and went straight into the goal.
Portugal counter-attacked but their effort went in vain with the solid defense of Moroccan goalkeeper Bono.
The upsets continued to throw up new shockers every day in an ongoing sports event as earlier strong Brazil were knocked out of the tournament, and now Portugal was shell-shocked after suffering defeat.
After the 40th minute in the game, the Moroccan striker jumped above the Portugal defenders to approach Yahya Attiat-Allah’s cross, using their head to tip ball past the goalkeeper who crashed into his own defender.
Portugal continued struggling to break through the Moroccan defense; star player Cristiano Ronaldo returned to the bench shortly after the break and was unable to help his side avoid getting outfoxed by Morocco.
Morocco wingers Sofiane Boufal and Azzedine Ounahi continued to chase throughout the thrilling game, while defender Yahia Attiyat Allah also displayed A-game. Morocco skipper Romain Saiss came off injured in the second half, and substitute Walid Cheddira was sent off in injury time.
Morocco first ever African, second Muslim FIFA World Cup semi-finalists
In a first in the Arab world, Morocco became the first squad to make the last four. Earlier, Turkey holds the record to qualify for the semis in the leading event.
The red shirts also made their continent proud by becoming the first-ever nation among them to qualify for the semi-finals of the mega event.