Morocco qualified for the semi-finals of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, after defeating Portugal with a free goal, on Saturday, at Al-Thumama Stadium in the quarter-finals, achieving an unprecedented Arab-African football achievement.
The Portuguese national team started the match with a great rush towards the attack in a direct style of playing with short passes forward through Bernardo Silva and Ruben Neves, and relying on Joao Felix as a free player between Bruno Fernandez and Ramos in the front trio.
On the other hand, Morocco played very calmly at the beginning to absorb the Portuguese boom, before taking advantage through the organized spread and possession that preceded the surprise with cross passes raised into the opponent’s areas.
Joao was the owner of the first attempt at Yassin Bono, with a shot that the Moroccan goalkeeper ably blocked. Youssef Al-Nusairi answered him with a header that missed the Portuguese goal.
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Al-Nusairi returned with a similar opportunity, but he missed concentrating in a very suitable position for scoring, so that Sofiane Boufal tried to shoot from a distance, but his ball did not torment Diego Costa much in catching it.
The Moroccan insistence on scoring resulted in a first goal, which started from the feet of Yahya Atiyatallah, who sent a lofted ball that Nusiri rose high and headed into the Portuguese net at the 42nd minute.
Immediately after the goal, Fernandez almost equalized the result with a powerful shot, which was returned by the crossbar, after which the Moroccans launched a dangerous counterattack, which Atiyatallah failed to translate into the goal of widening the difference.
The second half was entered by the Portuguese national team with terrible pressure seeking to score, so Gonzalo Ramos attempted to head Jawart the post, Fernandez followed with a very dangerous shot that passed safely over the horizontal bar, before Felix scored his presence again with a curved ball that Bono flew to and pushed it away with an imaginary save.
Portugal’s attempts continued until the last minutes, amid unparalleled steadfastness, which enabled the “Atlas Lions” to keep their nets clean until the end that announced Morocco’s arrival in the Golden Square as the first Arab and African team to reach this role in the history of the tournament.
The Moroccan national team is awaiting in the next round the winner of the expected meeting between defending champion France and England, which will be held later this evening.