World Cup Qatar 2022 Morocco returns to the eighth finals through the front door


The Atlas Lions beat Canada and take advantage of Croatia’s draw with Belgium to seal their place as group leaders

Morocco cemented its status as a World Cup revelation in Qatar with a narrow victory over Canada, putting the Atlas Lions in the round of 16 of a World Cup for the second time in their history. Goals from Ziyech and En-Nesyri in the first half catapulted the African team through the front door into the first round of the playoffs and punished the permeable North American team, who retired from the event unable to score after yet another game in which they were the concessions of his rear guard were a heavy burden against an opponent who came out with sharp teeth.

Aguerd’s own goal, as a first-half with a distinctly Moroccan accent was on its last legs, fueled the men’s hopes of ending a tournament with their heads held high in which the results failed to support their gaudy proposition. has served as a lesson to them for the World Cup they are organizing in four years’ time together with the United States and Mexico and has strengthened their confidence. They play without complexes, and that is always commendable. But Morocco ramped up its defensive strength around the dressing room to once again team up with the big powers, 36 years after its previous and so far only presence at the Mexico ’86 World Cup matches.

The contenders took to the pitch at Al Thumama Stadium with mixed goals. Canada wanted to close the World Cup with a good taste in their mouths. The Atlas Lions for their part needed at least one point to seal their passports for the round of 16 outright, but they had the merit of avoiding any speculative temptation.

Borjan, Johnston, Vitoria, Miller, Hoillet (Wotherspoon, min. 75), Osorio (Laryea, min. 65), Kaye (Hutchinson, min. 60), Adekugbe (Koné, min. 60), Buchanan, Larin (David, minus 60) and Davies.

Bono, Hakimi (Jabrane, min. 85), Aguerd, Saiss, Mazraoui, Amrabat, Ounahi (El Yamiq, min. 75), Sabiri (Abhoukhaol, min. 65), Ziyech (Hamdallah, min. 75), En-Nesyri and Boufal (Amallah, min. 65).

Boufal threatened a claw strike as soon as the game started, though the bite was taken directly to Canada after a blunder by their goalkeeper who served the target on a bowl to the worst enemy possible. Ziyech, author of a double in the last friendly that measured both teams six years ago, equalized at will from the edge of the area, further clearing the horizon for the Atlas Lions.

The representatives of the Alaouite kingdom carried an imposing plant. Hermetic on defense, nimble on creative tasks and sharp on offense, they squeezed a very tender Canada at the rear, albeit with airs in the forefront. A cross from Larin from the right that Buchanan finished off in a very forced position helped the Americans recover after the early blow and show other feats of arms.

But Canada’s move forward left their backside even more exposed, softer than a championship custard. A mortal sin if the opponent has a roadrunner of the caliber of En-Nesyri and a pitcher of the size of Achraf. A masterful throw from the PSG winger sent the Sevilla striker into space, who slipped through the anxious Canadian centre-backs and beat Borjan with a dry shot at the short post.

The contrast between Canadian vagueness and Moroccan determination ushered in a stronger score once Walid Regragui’s men maintained their offensive ambition, for behind them stood an almost impregnable wall. But football, as unpredictable a sport as that ice hockey loved by the maple leaf comrades, opened an unexpected crack in the African fortress after a cross from Adekugbe on the left. Aguerd, in his unfortunate attempt at clearance, sent the ball into Bono’s net and gave the ‘canucks’ oxygen.

The sails were furled after being passed through the cabin by the ever-cautious Moroccan coach as Canada pulled forward. Hutchinson equalized with a header that bounced over the line after hitting the crossbar and Johnston also couldn’t hollow out the rebound an inch. Canada loaded with faith; Morocco resisted with a Numantine defense. In this confrontation between necessity and pragmatism, the African ‘catenaccio’ emerged victorious. Lions roar with a granite back and feel capable of intimidating anyone.

Source: La Verdad


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