Sofiane Boufal and Abdelhamid Sabiri scored the goals to make history for Morocco in a friendly match against Brazil in Tangier on Saturday. The Moroccan team achieved their first victory ever against the five-time world champions, cementing their position as World Cup semi-finalists.
This statement win against soccer powerhouse Brazil further strengthens Morocco’s reputation as a formidable soccer team. The sold-out Ibn Batouta stadium in Tangier was filled with 65,000 excited fans cheering them on. Morocco, who had an outstanding run in Qatar 2022, did not hold back and delivered an impressive performance.
In the first half, the match almost turned into an ill-tempered affair, with Brazilian players complaining bitterly to the referee after a series of bad tackles by the home defenders. While Brazil controlled possession and were more aggressive on the field, Morocco was always dangerous in counter-attacks.
Brazilian Palmeiras winger Rony, making his debut in his first call with the national team, missed a sitter from close range in the 13th minute. Goalkeeper Yassine Bounou almost gifted Brazil a goal in the 22nd minute with a comical mistake. However, Rony’s shot to an empty goal was blocked by a defender, and Bounou managed to recover in time to save Vinicius Junior‘s strike from rebound.
One minute later, Bono once again made a mistake, gifting the ball to Vinicius Junior to score to an empty goal, but the effort was ruled offside by the VAR due to a controversial offside in the build-up, with Brazilian players berating the Tunisian official Sadok Selmi.
In the very next play, Emerson Royal lost the ball close to his box, and Morocco didn’t waste the golden opportunity gifted by the defender, with Bilal El Khannous assisting Sofiane Boufal to score from close range.
Hakim Ziyech missed two great chances for Morocco before the break, while goalkeeper Bounou denied a Rodrygo strike from the edge of the area with a Hollywood save.
However, after Brazilian player Casemiro‘s shot slipped under Bounou and into the net in the 67th minute, the hosts hit back 12 minutes later with substitute Abdelhamid Sabiri. Sabiri took down a lost ball inside the Brazilian box and unleashed an unstoppable strike which bounced off the crossbar into the net. It was a goal that the team and fans needed to complete their celebrations.
The World Cup run spurred tears of joy across Africa and the Arab world, as Morocco became the first African team to make the semis and the first Arab team to reach the quarterfinals. Their win against soccer powerhouse Brazil will undoubtedly go down in history, proving their status as one of soccer’s rising stars.
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