AFCON AFCON 2023: South Africa Stun Morocco To Reach Quarterfinals

South Africa stunned Morocco with a 2-0 victory in the second half, and Teboho Mokoena and Evidence Makgopa scored goals to send the World Cup semi-finalists out of the Africa Cup of Nations at the last-16 stage in San Pedro on Tuesday.

Morocco was one of the favourites going into the Ivory Coast competition, especially after Sofyan Amrabat was sent off late.

However, their continental curse has not allowed them to win a Cup of Nations trophy since 1976, and they were defeated once more in the intense heat of Laurent Pokou Stadium.

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Tall striker Makgopa received a feed from midfielder Themba Zwane, who is frequently the team’s creative focal point, and he easily slid the ball past custodian Yassine Bounou to give South Africa the lead in the 57th minute.

Mokoena then scored a fantastic late free kick.

Morocco was given a penalty and had a chance to tie the game at 1-0, but Achraf Hakimi struck the crossbar.

On Saturday at Yamoussoukro, South Africa will take on Cape Verde in the quarterfinals.

The 1996 victors, South Africa, have struggled in continental competition over the past three decades and haven’t advanced past the quarterfinals since 2000.

Nevertheless, they sealed a historic victory with a resolute defensive effort and occasional bursts of attacking brilliance.

Morocco appeared to be suffering from the intense heat and were not at all like the fun team that won the World Cup in Qatar, lacking the attacking prowess of injured playmaker Hakim Ziyech this time around.

Even after defender Mothobi Mvala committed a clear penalty, they were unable to break through and Hakimi’s goal against the goal frame summed up their performance that evening.

There were few obvious opportunities in the first half as South Africa played a containment game, maintaining their structure and refraining from committing players into the assault.

Mokoena forced a good stop off of Bounou with a thirty-yard shot, while Percy Tau missed a corner kick.

However, Moroccan winger Amine Adli had the finest chance of the first forty-five minutes shortly before halfway.

He gave the covering defence more time to shut him down by delaying his 10-yard shot.

Their second goal came from a magnificent free kick in the fifth minute of stoppage time, which was scored by Mokoena, a dead-ball specialist, after Amrabat had been sent off for a professional foul.

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