Morocco became the first African nation to reach the World Cup semifinals after beating Portugal 1-0 on Saturday evening at the 2022 FIFA World Cup underway at Al Thumama Stadium in Qatar.
The Atlas Lions also became the first Arab team to make the last four following Youssef En-Nesyri’s first-half goal sealed the win.
Morocco took the lead in the 42nd minute through En-Nesyri’s header as they came on strong late in the first half.
Despite late pressure by the Portuguese, an injury-hit Morocco, without three of their four first-choice defenders once skipper Romain Saiss was forced off, hung on despite being reduced to 10 men in added time. Moroccan coach Walid Regragui said:
We came up against a really great Portugal team. We’re drawing on all we have, we still have guys injured.
I told the guys before the match we had to write history for Africa. I’m very, very happy.
Five-time Ballon d’Or winner Ronaldo was sent on early in the second half by coach Fernando Santos but could not rescue the Euro 2016 winners.
Before the victory over Portugal, Morocco had already beaten other European football powerhouses, that is, Belgium and Spain, on penalties, in Qatar.
Walid Regragui’s men will face holders France in the semifinals at Al Bayt Stadium on Wednesday. | SuperSport