Morocco earned only their third-ever World Cup win against FIFA’s second-best ranked team Belgium as goals from substitute pairing Abdelhamid Sabiri and Zakaria Aboukhlal sealed a historic 2-0 victory.
Sabiri found the net from an incredibly tight angle, beating Thibaut Courtois at his near post from a clever free-kick, before Aboukhlal raced onto Hakim Ziyech’s through ball to seal a momentous win in second-half stoppage time.
Morocco were denied a goal on the stroke of half-time when Ziyech’s free-kick nestled in the back of the net, only to be ruled out by a lengthy VAR review, which judged that Romain Saiss was in an offside position and blocking the eye-line of Courtois, despite not touching the ball.
Belgium had enjoyed the better of the play up until that point, after Morocco made a mystery change of goalkeeper minutes before kick-off, replacing Yassine Bounou with Munir El Kajoui.
He was called into action early to deny Michy Batshuayi in the fifth minute, as the ex-Chelsea striker collected an incisive pass from Thorgan Hazard, but didn’t have the guile to beat Munir.
Belgium laboured thereafter, offering very little threat from their star marksmen, as Kevin De Bruyne, Eden Hazard and brother Thorgan were all stifled by Morocco’s steely determination.
More to follow…