Morocco pulls off another upset, knocks Portugal out to reach historic WC semis

DOHA: Morocco on Saturday pulled off another shock upset beating Portugal 1-0 in the quarterfinal to become the first ever African and an Arab nation to reach a FIFA World Cup Semi-final.

Portugal forward Joao Felix came close to opening the scoring on two occasions, forcing Morocco goalkeeper Yassine Bounou into an early save before his strike in the 31st minute took a deflection and narrowly missed the target.

Morocco was happy to play on the counter and grabbed the opener just before the break when Youssef En-Nesyri’s towering header late in the first half gave first-time quarterfinalists a 1-0 lead. En-Nesyri, who had twice headed over the crossbar earlier, leapt higher than both Portugal goalkeeper Diogo Costa and defender Ruben Dias to put Morocco ahead in the 42nd minute.

Ronaldo came off the bench in the 50th minute to tie the men’s record most appearances in international games with 196, but he was unable to get his team back into the game.

Also read: List of FIFA World Cup winners since 1930

Only a few minutes later, Bruno Fernandes, the captain of Portugal, came agonizingly close to tying the score, but his outstanding individual effort hit the crossbar.

FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 – Quarter Final – Morocco v Portugal – Al Thumama Stadium, Doha, Qatar – December 10, 2022 Morocco’s Youssef En-Nesyri scores their first goal REUTERS/Molly Darlington

Devastated by injuries, Morocco sat back for the bulk of the second half and the nearest they got to a goal was when Yassine Bounou expertly tipped over Joao Felix’s shot.

Morocco striker Walid Cheddira was sent off for a second yellow card in eight minutes of additional time, but Portugal could not find the equalizer as their last-four hopes were dashed. Morocco pulls off another shock upset, knocks Portugal out to reach historic semis

Morocco will face either France or England, who play later on Saturday night, in the semi-final.

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