Morocco vs Spain Final Bounou and Hakimi Ddecisive as African Side Win on Penalties

Morocco defeated reigning champion Spain on penalties in the Round of 16 to advance to the World Cup quarterfinals for the first time.

Morocco vs Spain final Bounou and Hakimi decisive as African side win on penalties

The last African team in the World Cup of 2022 played outstanding defence the entire game and had two excellent chances to win it in overtime, with Walid Cheddira coming close on both occasions.

Although Spain missed their first three penalty kicks in the shootout, it didn’t matter because Achraf Hakimi calmly converted the game-winning kick with a daring Panenka chip to advance his team to a matchup against Portugal or Switzerland in the third quarterfinal on Saturday.

Even though the offside flag was up, Luis Enrique’s team controlled about 70% of the ball in the opening 45 minutes but couldn’t go any closer than Marco Asensio’s effort into the side netting. Gavi and Ferran Torres were both stopped by superb stops at the same time.

Noussair Mazraoui’s ferocious long-range drive hurt Unai Simon’s hands, and Nayef Aguerd, unmarked at the far post, headed over a wonderful opportunity made possible by Sofiane Boufal’s deception. It was evident that Morocco’s gameplan was to absorb pressure and try to hit the Spanish on the break.

The same pattern persisted into the second half, with Yassine Bounou of Morocco making a quick reaction save on free kicks from Dani Olmo at each end of the half while Alvaro Morata continued to struggle.

The African team’s outstanding defending at the opposite end turned out to be essential. Morocco had the two finest chances of the first session of extra time, with Cheddira first being stopped by Aymeric Laporte’s challenge and then the right leg of Simon.

After Carlos Soler and Sergio Busquets had their shots blocked by Bounou, Pablo Sarabia struck the post with Spain’s first attempt in the shootout. This gave Hakimi, a Madrid native, the opportunity to score the game-winning penalty with a Panenka strike.

Written by Istafa Ali


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