Africa-Morocco Sets Record, Defeats Portugal to Reach Semi-Final
A moment of history was created at the 2022 World Cup on Saturday as a fine header from Youssef En-Nesyri gave Morocco a nervy 1-0 win over Portugal and sent them through to the semi-finals of the World Cup. That makes Morocco the first African team ever to reach the World Cup semi-finals. They will face the winners of the clash between England and France later on Saturday.
Youssef En-Nesyri’s first-half header proved the difference as Morocco became the first-ever African side to reach the semi-finals of the World Cup thanks to a stunning 1-0 victory over Portugal at Al Thumama Stadium, Qatar.
The Sevilla forward sent the large contingent of Morocco fans crazy with a 42nd-minute headed effort that was enough to send Cristiano Ronaldo home.
Walid Regragui’s history-makers will meet the winner of France and England in the semi-final on Wednesday.
The first chance fell Portugal’s way with Joao Felix’s deflected effort drifting agonizingly wide with goalkeeper Bono well beaten.
Having gone close twice earlier in the half, En-Nesyri finally broke the deadlock three minutes before half-time. It was a magical moment for Morocco, but one to forget for Portugal’s goalkeeper Diogo Costa who was caught in no man’s land as he got nowhere close to Yahih Attiyat Allah’s cross and En-Nesyri took full advantage, heading home quite majestically to send the African fans wild.
Bruno Fernandes almost leveled immediately with an ingenious effort, moments before he had a strong appeal for a penalty waved away by the referee.
Ronaldo was introduced shortly after the restart, with the 37-year-old making a record 196th international appearance. His former Manchester United team-mate Fernandes almost found the leveler with a fierce shot from the edge of the box.
Fernando Santos’ side continued to pile on the pressure, with Joao Felix forcing another top-drawer save from Bono, who also denied Ronaldo from point-blank range. But there was no way through a stubborn Morocco defense that has conceded only once in the tournament so far, despite substitute Walid Cheddira being sent off for two bookable offenses.