Morocco first African nation into World Cup semis

The content originally appeared on: News Americas Now

Black Immigrant Daily News

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Morocco’s Azzedine Ounahi, left, celebrates with his teammates after winning the World Cup quarterfinal footbal match against Portugal, at Al Thumama Stadium in Doha, Qatar, Saturday. – AP Photo

Ten-man Morocco became the first African nation to qualify for the FIFA World Cup semi-finals after they edged Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal 1-0 at Al Thumama Stadium in Qatar on Saturday.

Youssef En-Nesyri’s towering header in the 42nd minute was the lone, decisive goal of the match, and one that will be remembered across the African continent.

Morocco braved a surging Portugal team in the second half but the Atlas Lions’ defence stood firm amidst a barrage of attempts to breach the back line.

Ronaldo was brought on in the 51st minute and did add firepower to the Portuguese attack but his presence did not make the needed impact on the result.

With eight minutes added on, Ronaldo set up Bruno Fernandes but his rifling shot was brilliantly saved by Moroccan goalkeeper Yassine Bounou. Veteran Portuguese defender Pepe also had a nervy header skim past the Morocco goal post, with just seconds remaining.

Three minutes into time added on, Moroccan Walid Cheddira was red carded but his team held their own to the end, to create history for the sport on the African continent.

Morocco will play the winner of Saturday afternoon’s France versus England quarter-final.

On Friday, Croatia and Argentina booked semi-final spots, via kicks from the penalty spot, against five-time winners Brazil, and Netherlands respectively.