Morocco defeat Belgium to keep things interesting in Group F

Morocco top their group with four points after two games

By Web Desk
November 27, 2022
Abdelhamid Sabiri celebrates after scoring the opening goal — Reuters 

DOHA: Morocco defeated Belgium 2-0 in the FIFA World Cup at Al Thumama Stadium on Sunday to keep things interesting in Group F.

In the 73rd minute of the match, Abdelhamid Sabiri whipped in a free kick from the left-hand side, which went straight in, with Courtois seemingly distracted by Saiss's run across him.

Meanwhile, Zakaria Aboukhlal doubled Morocco’s lead in injury time after an assist by Hakim Ziyech.

Morocco moved on to four points from two games with Belgium, second in the world rankings, on three. Canada and Croatia are meeting later in Sunday’s other Group F match.

Morocco were denied a goal on the stroke of halftime for offside when Hakim Ziyech’s free kick ended up in the back of the net, and they went into the break locked at 0-0 with Belgium.

Belgium had 70 per cent possession before the break, which was their best tally in a first half of a World Cup game since at least 1966. However, they were not able to convert that into many clear cut chances.

Earlier, Morocco switched goalkeepers at the last moment before kickoff as Munir El Kajoui replaced Yassine Bounou, who seemed unwell.

Bounou was part of the starting line-up and lined up with his teammates for the national anthem but was then seen in a lengthy discussion with the referee Cesar Ramos of Mexico.

El Kajoui then appeared for the team photo before kickoff and took Bounou's place as the game at the Al Thumama Stadium got underway.

There was no immediate explanation for the late change with a tweet, posted after kickoff, from the Morocco Football Federation, simply saying: "Munir El Kajoui replaces Yassine Bounou for this match against Belgium".

Images from the stadium showed Bounou slumped over with his hands braced on his knees.