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Saturday, February 4, 2023

Spain Stunned in Shootout as Morocco Make History in Qatar

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Morocco secured place in the World Cup quarterfinals with a penalty shootout victory against Spain in Qatar, marking the first time ever that the North Africans have reached the last eight of the tournament.

After the teams could not be separated by a goalless 90 minutes and extra time, Morocco downed their rivals from the spot, winning the shootout 3-0 thanks to a pair of saves from goalkeeper Yassine Bounou – known as Bono – and some woeful Spanish efforts.

With history calling, it was the Madrid-born Achraf Hakimi who answered for Morocco as he coolly dinked the winning penalty down the middle.

Spain paid the price for not converting their possession into goals during the game, and the penalty efforts from Luis Enrique’s team – combined with superb goalkeeping from Morocco’s Bono – consigned the 2010 World Cup winners to another meek exit.

The shootout had begun with Abdelhamid Sabiri tucking home the opening penalty for Morocco, before Pablo Sarabia struck the post for Spain.

Chelsea’s Hakim Ziyech then drilled his penalty down the middle, before a tame effort from Carlos Soler was gratefully saved by Moroccan stopper Bono.

Unai Simon kept Spain’s chances alive by guessing the right way to save from Badr Benoun, but Barcelona veteran Sergio Busquets was guilty of another poor strike for Bono to palm away.

Paris Saint-Germain star Hakimi calmy slotted home to spark jubilation among the Atlas Lions and their formidable support inside the Education City Stadium and no doubt far beyond.

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