Moracco stun Belgium in World Cup

TEHRAN, Nov. 27 (MNA) – Morocco stun Belgium 2-0 in Group F to register first World Cup win since 1998.

Morocco jeopardised Belgium's World Cup hopes as Abdelhamid Sabiri and Zakaria Aboukhlal's late goals secured a surprise 2-0 triumph in Doha on Sunday. Belgium, third in Russia four years ago, could have qualified for the last 16 with victory but instead produced another insipid display after their fortunate opening win over Canada. Substitute Sabiri was the hero thanks to a 73rd-minute free-kick which Thibaut Courtois allowed to bounce in at his near post, before Aboukhlal grabbed a second in stoppage time. The tens of thousands of Morocco supporters responded by cheering their team home at a raucous Al Thumama Stadium.

Morocco replace Belgium at the top of Goup F and know they will qualify for the knockout phase for the first time since 1986 if they can avoid defeat against Canada on Thursday.

Belgium, the world's second-ranked side, will have to beat 2018 runners-up Croatia to be sure of going through.

Roberto Martinez's ageing side have reached at least the quarter-finals of each of the past four major tournaments.

Belgium, whose captain Eden Hazard has admitted are not as good as in 2018, lacked spark and were made to pay by inspired opposition.

Morocco were dealt a blow after the national anthems when goalkeeper Yassine Bounou appeared to gesture he would not be able to play.

The experienced Munir El Kajoui was sent out in his place.

The Atlas Lions fans vastly outnumbered their Belgian counterparts and breathed a sigh of relief when the Europeans almost grabbed a fourth-minute lead.

Hazard played in Michy Batshuayi whose effort from a tight angle was kept out by Munir.

Belgium dominated the early exchanges but Morocco did manage a shot at goal when Hakim Ziyech fired over from distance.

MNA/PR

News Code 194170

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