Morocco grew to become the primary African nation to achieve the semi-finals of the World Cup as Youssef En-Nesyri’s first-half winner added Portugal to the checklist of shocked groups in Qatar.
Striker En-Nesyri profited on a mistake from Portugal goalkeeper Diogo Costa to move house the historic strike for not solely Walid Regragui’s facet – however your complete African continent.
Not even the 51st minute introduction of Cristiano Ronaldo – as soon as once more left on the bench by his supervisor Fernando Santos – might encourage a Portugal comeback, as Bruno Fernandes hit the crossbar whereas Goncalo Ramos and Bernardo Silva missed the goal from good positions.
Late on, Morocco required heroics from goalkeeper Bono who saved from Joao Felix and Ronaldo whereas Pepe missed a sitter within the ultimate minute of eight in stoppage time – which additionally noticed substitute striker Walid Cheddira despatched off for 2 quickfire yellow playing cards.
Morocco’s shock run to the final 4 – which has seen them beat Belgium, Spain and Portugal and concede only one personal purpose in 5 World Cup matches – units up a semi-ultimate conflict with the winner of England and France’s blockbuster quarter-ultimate.
How Morocco pulled off one other shock to create historical past
Fresh from their 6-1 win over Switzerland within the final 16, Portugal started the sport brightly with a few first-half probabilities falling to Joao Felix.
The ahead put an early header straight at Bono and noticed a deflected shot land on the highest of the Morocco goalkeeper’s internet earlier than flashing over a primary-time end from the sting of the world when present in acres of house.
Moments of the match…
- 5 minutes: Joao Felix missed the primary of three large first-half probabilities by heading straight at Bono from a free-kick.
- 42 minutes: Youssef En-Nesyri beats Diogo Costa to the ball to move house what finally ends up being the winner.
- 45 minutes: Bruno Fernandes hits the bar and moments later sees a penalty attraction waved away.
- 51 minutes: Moments after Hakim Ziyech almost made it 2-0, Cristiano Ronaldo enters the sector of play.
- 58: Goncalo Ramos heads a free header extensive of purpose following Otavio’s cross.
- 83 minutes: Bono suggestions over Joao Felix’s goalbound strike away from the highest nook of the online.
- 90+1 minutes: Ronaldo breaks away from the Morocco defence however his low shot is saved by Bono.
- 90+4: Walid Cheddira despatched off for Morocco after two quickfire yellow playing cards.
- 90+7: Pepe heads extensive from shut vary within the ultimate large probability of the sport for Portugal
- Full Time: Ronaldo storms off the pitch in tears
Meanwhile, Fernando Santos’ facet had been warned about En-Neysri’s risk within the air as he fired over a free header from a nook, whereas Selim Amallah and Sofiane Boufal went shut in fast succession however each failed to search out the goal.
Eventually, Morocco’s resilience paid off three minutes earlier than half-time as Portugal goalkeeper Costa got here for Attiyat Allah’s lengthy hanging ball from the left and collided along with his personal defender in Dias, leaving En-Neysri to nod house.
A frantic finish to the primary half noticed Fernandes crash a dipping volley towards the crossbar earlier than seeing a penalty problem waved away by referee Facundo Tello when put via on purpose moments later.
Morocco began the second interval strongly, with Hakim Ziyech testing the gloves of Costa from a free-kick – a significant probability which prompted the introduction of Ronaldo on 51 minutes
But it was Goncalo Ramos who was on the receiving finish of a significant probability instantly after Ronaldo’s entrance, heading Otavio’s defence-opening cross extensive from contained in the field.
Bernardo Silva had two nice alternatives in fast succession to stage however curled over from the sting of the world earlier than failing to attach within the field after a wise free-kick transfer.
Yet none of these probabilities in comparison with the three that fell Portugal’s approach within the ultimate 10 minutes. First, Felix’s rasping drive in direction of the highest nook was tipped over by Bono – who needed to be equal to Ronaldo’s low effort when the 37-yr-outdated ran via one-on-one.
Morocco had been near discovering a second when Zakaria Aboukhlal burst clear via however his clumsy chip was simply saved by Costa – but Pepe had an excellent higher probability on the different finish as he headed extensive from contained in the six-yard field following Rafael Leao’s cross.
The full-time whistle sparked jubilant scenes from the Morocco gamers and their hundreds of supporters within the stands – whereas Ronaldo instantly marched off the pitch in tears in what’s more likely to be his final World Cup look.
Pepe rages at Argentine referee
Portugal defender Pepe criticised the appointment of Argentine referee Tello within the wake of the Argentina gamers’ feedback about officiating and added time following their quarter-ultimate win over the Netherlands on Friday.
Argentina conceded an equaliser on the finish of 11 minutes of stoppage time to ship their tie into additional-time, with goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez claiming referee Antonio Mateu Lahoz wished the Netherlands to attain, whereas captain Lionel Messi was additionally important.
Pepe says the appointment of Tello on this recreation mustn’t have been accepted, with Argentina nonetheless within the match.
“We conceded a goal that we weren’t expecting but… I’m going to have to say it. It’s unacceptable for an Argentine referee to referee our game,” mentioned Pepe. “After what happened yesterday, with Messi talking, all of Argentina talking and the referee comes here.
“What did we play the second half? The goalkeeper stored dropping to the bottom. There had been solely eight minutes of stoppage time. We labored arduous and the referee [gave] eight minutes?
“We didn’t play anything in the second half. The only team that played football was us. We are sad. We had the quality to win the World Cup and we didn’t manage to.”
“Our players are distressed,” mentioned Portugal coach Fernando Santos, who shrugged off questions on his personal future and added that he did not remorse not beginning Ronaldo.
“Cristiano is a great player and he came on when we thought it was necessary. But no, no regrets.”
Meanwhile, Morocco goalkeeper Bono mentioned: “Pinch me, I’m dreaming.
“Morocco is able to face anybody on the planet. We have modified the mentality of the era coming after us. They’ll know Moroccan gamers can create miracles.”
Player of the match – Sofyan Amrabat (Morocco)
Such was Portugal’s domination in possession, Morocco metronome Sofyan Amrabat solely touched the ball 32 instances within the 90 minutes.
But what the midfielder did on the uncommon events by which he did get on the ball was phenomenal and he was instrumental in relieving stress on the Morocco backline.
Amrabat made eight ball recoveries and three tackles but additionally confirmed his capacity to convey the ball ahead – coming into the ultimate third twice and creating one clear-minimize probability.
Put merely, Amrabat was all over the place for Morocco and is staking an actual declare to be named Player of the Tournament.
‘Don’t take Morocco frivolously’
Sky Sports’ Graeme Souness talking on ITV:
“Morocco were fabulous – it was a mirror of the Spanish game [which they won on penalties].
“They had been sensational when it got here to defending their field. In phrases of the arduous work, being organised and dedication they had been a credit score to their nation.
“Do not take them lightly. They will not be a different Morocco next time, they will play the exact same way.
“They had a game plan which worked well. Every time the Portuguese got the ball, they got back in numbers. It’s ok to say that, but when you’re constantly bringing the other team onto to you, one person normally falls asleep in danger. No-one did that.
“For Argentina, France and England, for those who requested them they usually gave you a solution, they might be completely happy for Morocco getting there. That is likely to be a mistake.”
What does the outcome imply?
Morocco transfer into the World Cup semi-ultimate on Wednesday December 14, kick-off at 7pm GMT. Should they win that, the World Cup ultimate takes place at 3pm on Sunday December 18.
The African facet will play the winner of England and France‘s quarter-ultimate, which kicks off at 7pm on Saturday evening.