Buoyed by vociferous support, Morocco held on for just their third World Cup win.
Morocco took a huge step towards qualifying for the last 16 after a historic 2-0 win over Belgium.
Morocco showed great determination to keep Belgium at bay for most of Sunday’s game and took the lead through substitute Abdelhamid Sabiri’s free-kick in the 73rd minute.
The final 20 minutes saw Belgium pile up the pressure in search of a goal, but Walid Regraghi’s side held firm and went down the other end to double their lead in stoppage time through Zakaria Abouhlal.
It was a raucous atmosphere at Al Toumama Stadium, with 44,000 sell-out crowds made up mostly of Morocco fans. Roared by this sea of red and green, Morocco gave their fans a night they will never forget.
Morocco were earlier dealt a blow after the national anthems were played when goalkeeper Yassin Bounou indicated he would not be able to play.
Belgium dominated the early exchanges but clear chances were high. Morocco found the back of the net through Hakim Ziyech’s free-kick late in the half but had it canceled out after Romain Saiss was adjudged to be offside.
Sofian Boufal almost broke the deadlock in the 57th minute after a breakaway but tipped the ball just wide of the far post.
Martinez made two changes late in the day, replacing the ineffective Hazard with Dries Mertens and bringing on Youri Tielemans for Amadou Onana in midfield.
Mertens almost had an instant strike when his shot from outside the area was saved by Munir.
The breakthrough came in the 73rd minute when Sabiri’s smart free-kick just five minutes after coming on Courtois outwitted Courtois to spark scenes of unbridled joy.
Belgium threw everything cautiously in their quest for an equalizer and in stoppage time Morocco broke through on the counter and Hakim Ziyech squared the ball for Abouhal who fired into the top corner.
Hakim Ziyech’s game by the numbers against Belgium:
9 duels won
5x possession won
3 successful takeovers
3 earned fouls
2 chances created
— Squawka (@Squawka) November 27, 2022
It was Morocco’s third win at the World Cup and sends them top of Group F. If they avoid defeat in their final match against Canada, they will seal their place in the last 16 for only the second time in their history.
Facing 2018 finalists Croatia in their final group game, Belgium’s place in the last 16 is now in jeopardy.