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Morocco stun Belgium for first World Cup win in 24 years

Xinhua | Updated: 2022-11-28 09:19
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Morocco's Romain Saiss celebrates their first goal, scored by Abdelhamid Sabiri as Belgium's Axel Witsel looks on during their Group F match at FIFA World Cup at Al Thumama Stadium, Doha, Qatar, November 27, 2022. [Photo/Agencies]

DOHA - Morocco pulled off another World Cup upset on Sunday as the African side snatched their first victory in 24 years at the tournament with a 2-0 win over Belgium.

Morocco's last World Cup triumph came in 1998 by routing Scotland 3-0, which capped the Scots' last appearance in the tournament.

This is only Morocco's third win in World Cup history with the first came in 1986 by beating Portugal 3-1.

Morocco broke the deadlock in the 73rd minute, as Serie A outfit Sampdoria's midfielder Abdelhamid Sabiri curled a wide free-kick just minutes after he was pitched on, and Belgian goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois was put off by Moroccan defender Romain Saiss and could only palm the ball into the net. The FIFA later listed Saiss as the scorer.

It seemed much like a mistake from Courtois, whose positioning was questioned.

Zakaria Aboukhlal, also a substitute in the game, sealed the glorious victory for Morocco in the 92nd minute. Munir El Kajoui's long goal kick was headed back towards his own goal by Belgian defender. Chelsea winger Hakim Ziyech seized upon the loose ball, swerved away from Timothy Castagne and cut the ball towards Aboukhlal at the near post as Ligue 1 club Toulouse forward clipped the ball into the roof of the net.

Morocco are top of Group F with four points ahead of Belgium prior to the late group fixture between Canada and Croatia

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