With a historic 1-0 victory over Portugal, Morocco became the first African team to reach a World Cup semifinal – On Saturday, Morocco became the first African team to do so, continuing its impressive run in Qatar.

    Youssef En-Nesyri, rising highest to head the ball into the net just before halftime, scored the game’s only goal.

    Morocco’s defense kept a clean sheet once more.

    After holding Croatia to a draw in the group stage and defeating Belgium, Spain, and now Portugal on their way to the semifinals, the Atlas Lions have become one of the tournament’s stories.

    On Saturday, the Al Thumama Stadium erupted in cheers, drums, and whistles, giving the impression that nearly an entire continent and region were present to witness their team’s historic victory.

    As even he was unable to break through the Morocco defense, Portugal’s defeat marked the end of what is likely to be Cristiano Ronaldo’s final World Cup, and he was left in tears as he left the tunnel following the final whistle.

    In their now-famous victory celebration, the Atlas Lions launched Regragui into the air.

    Ronaldo scored the game’s lone goal the last time these two teams played each other, at the World Cup in 2018.

    Ronaldo started on the bench for the second game in a row this time.

    The two groups started brilliantly, with Portugal overwhelming belonging however unfit to breakdown the efficient Morocco safeguard which has yielded only one objective during Qatar 2022.

    The only real Portuguese threat in the first half came from two attempts by Joo Félix.

    The first was a powerful, accurate header that forced goalkeeper Yassine “Bono” Bounou to react, and the second was a strike that deflected off two players and landed on top of the net.

    Instead, Morocco scored three minutes before the break. Yahia Attiyat-Allah perfectly floated the ball into the box, and En-Nesyri rose highest to head it into the net, well above goalkeeper Diogo Costa and Rben Dias.

    Ronaldo made his 196th international appearance shortly after the break, becoming the second-most-capped men’s player in history.

    However, Portugal remained stranded outside the box for the majority of the second half, held in place by a defiant Moroccan defense, and even he was unable to exert his authority over the game.

    Bounou marshalled any shots that made it past the front lines of defense.

    He took a powerful strike from Bruno Fernandes out of the air and tipped Felix’s shot over the crossbar minutes later.

    Ronaldo had a chance to tie the game as regular time turned into overtime, but his low shot was saved once more by Bounou.

    As the game entered its final minutes, players, coaches, and support staff from both teams anxiously prowled the sidelines.

    Walid Cheddira received a red card after receiving two yellow cards in a row, forcing his team to defend its slim lead with only 10 players for the final six minutes.

    In order to secure Morocco’s victory, Zakaria Aboukhlal broke free on the counterattack but was unable to do so, and Pepe’s header for Portugal just missed the goal.

    However, Morocco prevailed in the end to claim a well-deserved and well-known victory that will be remembered for many years to come.

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