Belgium slip to shock W’Cup defeat by Morocco

Morocco jeopardised Belgium’s World Cup hopes as Abdelhamid Sabiri and Zakaria Aboukhlal’s late goals secured a surprise 2-0 triumph in Doha on Sunday.Information Guide Nigeria

Belgium, third in Russia four years ago, could have qualified for the last 16 with victory but instead produced another insipid display after their fortunate opening win over Canada.

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Substitute Sabiri was the hero thanks to a 73rd-minute free-kick which Thibaut Courtois allowed to bounce in at his near post, before Aboukhlal grabbed a second in stoppage time.

The tens of thousands of Morocco supporters responded by cheering their team home at a raucous Al Thumama Stadium

Abdelhamid Sabiri and Zakaria Aboukhlal’s late goals gave Morocco an unexpected 2-0 victory in Doha on Sunday, threatening Belgium’s World Cup aspirations.JAMB portal

Belgium, who finished third in Russia four years ago, could have qualified for the round of 16 with a win but instead produced another lackluster performance following their fortunate opening victory over Canada.

Aboukhlal added a second in stoppage time after substitute Sabiri scored on a 73rd-minute free-kick that Thibaut Courtois allowed to enter at his near post.

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Tens of thousands of Morocco supporters replied by roaring their team to victory at the Al Thumama Stadium.

Belgium, whose captain Eden Hazard admitted are not as good as in 2018, were punished by inspired opposition for their lack of dynamism.

After the national anthems, Morocco were handed a setback when goalkeeper Yassine Bounou signaled he would be unable to play.

Atlas Lions supporters massively outnumbered their Belgian opponents and breathed a sigh of relief when Europe nearly took the lead in the fourth minute.

Hazard passed to Michy Batshuayi, whose close-range attempt was denied by Munir.

Hakim Ziyech’s long-range effort was Morocco’s only attempt on goal as Belgium dominated the early exchanges.

Selim Amallah, who was born in Belgium, volleyed into the seats before Achraf Hakimi blasted a decent opportunity wide of the mark for the African side.

In first-half stoppage time, as Ziyech’s free-kick went all the way into the goal, the fans roared in jubilation.

However, the goal was disallowed after a VAR review because Romain Saiss was slightly offside and the former Wolves defender was in Courtois’ line of sight.NYSC portal

Both teams began the second period strongly, with Ziyech shooting directly at Courtois and Hazard forcing Munir to make a near-post save.

After a jinking move in the 57th minute, Sofiane Boufal nearly missed the far post with a shot that went just wide of the goal.

At the hour mark, Martinez made two substitutions, replacing the ineffectual Hazard with Dries Mertens and Amadou Onana with Youri Tielemans.

Mertens nearly had an immediate impact as Munir blocked his shot from just outside the penalty area.

Sabiri’s free-kick near the sideline, similar to Ziyech’s disallowed goal, caught Courtois off guard with 17 minutes remaining.

Martinez substituted Romelu Lukaku, who was anticipated to miss the game due to injury, in a last-ditch effort to salvage the game.

But Belgium had long since run out of ideas, and Morocco scored the game’s second goal.

Aboukhlal sent the Chelsea winger’s cross into the top of the net after Ziyech’s brilliant move opened up space in the penalty area.

Morocco fans were able to enjoy their nation’s first World Cup victory in 24 years when the tension in the stadium subsided.JAMB Result

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Emediong Ekpe

Emediong Ekpe is a graduate of English. A professional Sports journalist/analyst, and a spoken word artist. He is passionate about decimating information and putting smiles on people's faces via news writing.

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