Morocco’s first victory in 24 years in FIFA World Cup, defeats Belgium with a 2-0 margin
Morocco’s first victory in 24 years in FIFA World Cup defeated Belgium in the most exciting match of the FIFA Cup in Qatar on Sunday.
Substitutes of Morocco team _ Abdelhamid Sabiri and Zakaria Aboukhlal earned Morocco their first World Cup victory in 24 years as they upset a hugely disappointing Belgium side 2-0 in World Cup Group ‘F’ on Sunday.
Abdelhamid Sabiri had been on the ground for just five minutes when Morocco won a free kick wide on the left _ close to the corner flag, against Belgium at the Al Thumama Stadium.
The goal was at the acutest of angles but no one was stopping him from having a go.
Sabiri wrapped his right foot around the ball, curling it at pace and catching Thibaut Courtois out of surprise. The Belgium goalkeeper saw the shot go under him and into the back of the net.
Sabiri’s teammates gathered around him and sank to the ground in prostration, the largely pro-Moroccan at the 44,000-capacity venue, its circular design reflecting the traditional woven cap worn by Arab men and boys, wild with joy.
Morocco has won just twice at the World Cup; their last victory came in 1998.
Leading 1-0, they now had 16 minutes to close out a famous win against a Belgium side, ranked second only to Brazil in the world. Belgium had opened their campaign in Qatar with a barely-deserved 1-0 win over Canada and knew a victory would take them through. Now they were fighting for a draw.
Roberto Martinez summoned Romelu Lukaku from his bench to turn the tide in his side’s favor.
Instead, it was Morocco who scored to seal a historic win for their side in the second minute of time added on.
A long ball from goalkeeper Monir Mohamedi caught out the Belgians and found its way to Hakim Ziyech. Ziyech ran into the space on the right before squaring it for Zakaria Aboukhlal, who had come onto the pitch just before the first goal. Aboukhlal had timed his run perfectly and shot it the first time into the roof of the net.
Morocco had opened with a goalless draw against Croatia and the 2-0 win here sent them top of Group F’, a point ahead of Belgium. A draw against Canada will take them through to the last 16 for the first time since 1986. This win, though, will live long in the memory.
Belgium had dominated possession for most of the first half. But they were largely sterile, the well-organized Moroccans closing down the avenues for the likes of Kevin de Bruyne and Eden Hazard to influence the game.