Morocco scripts the impossible, beats Portugal to enter semi-finals

DOHA: Morocco impressed the world as it did what was thought almost impossible at the jam-packed Al-Thumama Stadium here by beating favourites Portugal by 1-0 in the FIFA World Cup Quarter-final match and made its way to the semi-finals. 

The high-flying header by Youssef En-Nesyri just before halftime in the 41st minute of the game was the only goal that catapulted Morocco to become the first African and Arab country to reach the tournament’s semis and will play either France or England on Wednesday night. 

Nesyri, had earlier in the game tried to head the ball in the net but could not leap much higher than Portugal keeper Diogo Costa and defender Ruben Dias to take the lead which was not breached till the end.

No attempts by Portugal were fruitful including a superb header by forward Joao Felix who dived onto a free kick just before half-time but was stalled by Morocco's keeper Yassine Bounou who pushed all attempts of scoring chance for Portugal. Felix had come to scoring in the first 30th minute of the game and again in the fag end 80th minute but both attempts were saved by Bounou.

Bounou displayed some finest moments defencing attempts by Portugual's scoring attempts from the nets especially a close range by Goncalo Ramos. 

Morocco which has already won against Belgium and Spain in this tournament brought down the might of players like Cristiano Ronaldo (who was bought in late in the game) who was seen crying as he walked out of the stadium down the tunnel. Ronaldo later acknowledged that his ambitious dream of winning the World Cup was over the loss of this match.

In the match against Spain earlier on Tuesday Bono had made two saves during the round of 16 penalty shoot-out leading to Morocco qualifying for the quarter-finals for the first time in their history. He also clinched the title of the Man of the Match again after the Spain win, following the Atlas Lions’ historic win against Portugal.

The Moroccan national team seemed to be accompanied by their mothers in World Cup matches and one of the players Sofiane Boufal was seen dancing with his mother in jubilation after its win over Portugal on the field and cheered by the entire euphoric crowd.


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