Not many batted an eyelid when Morocco drew South Africa within the Spherical of 16 of the 2023 African Cup of Nations (AFCON). In spite of everything, it appeared like an easy affair on paper, because the 2022 FIFA World Cup semi-finalists possessed far an excessive amount of high quality to worry by the underdogs, South Africa.
The complacency and the sense of inevitability seemingly had full management of the Morocco gamers on Tuesday evening (January 30), as they appeared hopelessly underprepared for the brash and relentless South African unit. It ended 2-0 in favor of Hugo Broos’ aspect on the evening, marking a historic win for the 66th-ranked FIFA nation.
South Africa’s Preventing Spirit Pays Off In The Second Half, As Morocco Rue Missed Alternatives
Morocco, who’re in thirteenth place within the FIFA Males’s World Rankings, appeared the extra assured workforce when in possession. They handed the ball round with ease and made inroads into the opposition field time and time once more.
Amine Adli and Selim Amallah had two glorious alternatives to search out the again of the web within the opening quarter of the sport, however they one way or the other did not hit the mark. South African center-back Mothobi Mvala additionally popped up with a few essential blocks to maintain Adil and Achraf Hakimi from wheeling away in celebration.
Teboho Mokoena lodged South Africa’s first and solely shot on course within the first half, testing Morocco goalkeeper Yassine Bounou with a zinger of a strike from lengthy vary.
Minutes into the second half, Azzedine Ounahi received possession contained in the opposition half, performed a bit of one-two with Youssef En-Nesyri, and went for aim from shut vary. The strike lacked accuracy because it sailed over the South African crossbar.
Within the 57th minute, South Africa got here out all weapons blazing for the primary time on the evening and deservedly put their noses in entrance. Receiving the ball from Themba Zwane, Proof Makgopa thumped the ball house from a decent angle, leaving Bono on the grass. Morocco created a pair extra probabilities within the aftermath of the aim, however their ending allow them to down.
SOUTH AFRICA 🇿🇦 KNOCK MOROCCO 🇲🇦 OUT OF THE AFRICA CUP OF NATIONS 😲 pic.twitter.com/YrcGR2lOgW
— 433 (@433) January 30, 2024
The equalizer gave the impression to be inevitable when the referee pointed to the spot after a transparent handball from Mvala. However towards all odds, captain Hakimi utilized an excessive amount of energy to his penalty and noticed it crash towards the highest of the put up and zip behind for a aim kick.
Issues went from dangerous to worse for the best-ranked African workforce when Manchester United ace Sofyan Ambrabat noticed a second yellow for bringing down Mokoena on the inside-left channel, simply exterior the field. After a VAR evaluation, the referee modified the cardboard to a straight purple, irritating Amrabat additional. Mokoena took the ensuing free-kick with aplomb, discovering the again of the web with a gem of a roller and sealing a 2-0 win for the underdogs.
Having crushed one of many event favorites, South Africa will sq. off towards Cape Verde within the 2023 AFCON quarter-final on Saturday (February 3).