Today on history book, we celebrate one year anniversary of Morocco becoming the first African country to reach the semi-final of the FIFA World Cup.
The Moroccans achieved this feat on December 10, 2022 in Qatar, and one year on, SPORTSRATION present throwback to that 1-0 quater-final win over Portugal.
HOW IT HAPPENED
As with the match against the Swiss, Portugal manager Fernando Santos opted to leave superstar and captain Cristiano Ronaldo on the bench, starting 21-year-old Goncalo Ramos in his place.
After a tense opening period to the game, Morocco took the lead through lanky striker Youssef En Nesyri. The Sevilla man rose highest to head home a cross from Yahia Attiat-Allah in the 42nd minute.
A stunned Portuguese team pushed out in search of an equalizer at the Al Thumama Stadium in the city of Doha.
Bruno Fernandes almost delivered an instant response for his team but his volley come back off the crossbar with half-time beckoning.
In search of a response , Portugal manager, Santos threw the action-hungry Cristiano Ronaldo on in the 50th minute for what was his 196th International appearance.
Portugal laid siege on the Moroccan goal as they looked to become the first opposing team to breach their backline, but they were met by resolute defending.
Ronaldo hardly had a sniff but when he did, his low effort was palmed away by the impressive Yassine Bono in the Morocco goal.
The Atlas Lions were reduced to ten men at the start of added time as substitute striker Walid Cheddira received two quick bookings.
His first booking came for a rough aerial duel with Pepe before two minutes later, he caught Joao Felix with his studs following a challenge.
Despite going a man down, Morocco continued to defend resolutely in their bid to become Africa’s first team in a FIFA World Cup semi-final.
Pepe missed a glorious chance at the death as he skewed his header wide from close range.
The North African side held on for an historic 1-0 win of great ramifications to the continent, one we remember today with pride and hope for better outings when the World gathers again in 2026.
FRANCE HALTS THE WORLD CUP DREAM
Having become the first African side to reach the semifinals of the FIFA World Cup, Morocco came up against France who defeated England to reach the last-4.
Kolo Muani and Theo Hernandez scored the goals to halts Morocco and Africa’s dream of reaching the 2022 FIFA World Cup final.
They too [France] were denied back-to-back World Cup wins by a Lionel Messi inspired Argentina who were crowned World champions after a thrilling game that was decided on penalties.