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Morocco Inflict Pain on Spain to Reach First World Cup Q’final
Moroccan goalkeeper, Yassine Bounou, was the hero last night as the Atlas Lions defeated Spain 3-0 in penalty shootouts to reach the quarterfinals of the ongoing 2022 World Cup here in Qatar.
After regulation and added time deadlocked goalless, the Last 16 fixture dragged into shootouts with Spain, the 2010 champions at South Africa 2010 expected to easily cruise to the quarterfinals.
However, Bounou won is with Spanish LaLiga club Sevilla proved to be the match winner for Morocco, stopping two kicks by Barragan Carlos Soler and Sergio Busquets. Pablo Sarabia’s first kick for Spain hit the upright and went out.
The Moroccans were far superior in penalties against the former champions, taking a 2-0 lead through Abdelhamid Sabiri and Hakim Ziyech in the shootouts.
Spain goalkeeper, Unai Simon, gave Enrique Luis’ side hope by stopping Badr Benoun’s attempt but Achraf Hakimi scored the winning penalty as Morocco thus qualified for the 2022 World Cup quarter-finals for the first time in history, beating Spain 3-0 at the Education City Stadium here on Tuesday.
The Moroccans who are the last team standing out of the five African representatives that began the journey here on November 20, last qualified from the group stage at Mexico in 1986. They failed to qualify from the group stage four years ago in Russia.
Although they soaked all that the Enrique men had to offer, they only lacked that cutting-edge finishing in front of goal otherwise the game would have ended in regulation time in their favour.
Their performance was brilliant in defence, not allowing much spaces to the title-contenders Spain, who thumped Costa Rica 7-0 in their first group match to play to their full strength.