Morocco stunned Belgium in the latest instalment of the FIFA World Cup going on in Qatar, beating the world number 2 by 2 goals to nothing at the Al Thumama Stadium.
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Two late goals by substitutes Abdelhamid Sabiri and Zakaria Aboukhlal gave a huge boost to Morocco’s hopes of progress to the round of 16 of Qatar 2022 World Cup.
Sabiri broke the deadlock on 73 minutes with a free-kick – the first direct set piece scored at this FIFA World Cup – swung in from a position wide on the left, just a metre or two from the touchline, which beat Thibaut Courtois at his near post. Aboukhlal then ended any doubt by flashing a shot past Courtois from a cutback by the impressive Hakim Ziyech.
Roberto Martinez’s 2018 semi-finalists would have progressed to the last 16 with a victory but, as in their narrow opening win over Canada, they failed to find top gear and may now have to beat Croatia in their last group game to qualify. For now, Morocco sit top of Group F with four points, with Croatia and Canada meeting later in the day.
The north Africans have not reached the knockout rounds since 1986, when they beat Portugal 3-1 to get there.
The Atlas Lions can make it to the round of 16 by avoiding defeat in the last group match against Canada on December 1, 2022.
They occupy the first position in Group F with 4 points, having drawn earlier with Croatia in their first match.
Canada occupies the second position with 3 points owing to their 1:0 lead in the ongoing match against Croatia at the time of writing.
Belgium occupies third place with 3 points, thanks to their hard won victory against Canada. Croatia is fourth with only 1 point from the draw against Morocco.
Belgium plays Croatia in the last Group F match on 1 December, while Canada plays Morocco.
Nnamdi Maduakor is a Writer, Investor and Entrepreneur