The group stage match was a major one for Morocco, the last Arab nation standing at the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.
Morocco kicked off its decisive match against Canada with a roaring start, securing an early goal in just 4 minutes.
Hosted at the Al Thumama Stadium in Doha, the group stage match is a major one for Morocco, the last Arab nation standing at the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.
Ziyech got his team an early lead after chipping Milan Borjan. The Moroccans continue to dominate, pressing up against the Canadians for the majority of the first half. On the other end, Canada’s Larin crosses the ball into Moroccan territory but the ball just doesn’t seem to find the back of the net.
After winning a free kick, Morocco hold the ball before Youssef En-Nesyri takes a strike in the 23rd minute that gives his team a 2-0 lead. The goalscorer doesn’t hold back and attempts another in the 27th minute though this time fails to get past Borjan.
However, an own goal by Morocco’s Nayef dampens the mood in the stadium as the scoreboard turns 2-1. The second half kicks off with a fighting start for Morocco with Hakimi and Ziyech making breaks. With new-found confidence on the pitch, the Moroccans give away two free kicks though Canada does not do much with the opportunities.
At 61 minutes, Canada gets some fresh feet on the pitch with three new substitutions, bringing on 39-year-old Hutchinson for what is very likely his last appearance at a World Cup. Morocco follows suit with its own substations, bringing on Aboukhlal and Amallah for the final 25 minutes.
“Maghreb, Maghreb” chants ring across the stadium with Morocco fans pre-emptively celebrating their team’s advance into the knockout stages. Ziyech is taken down in the box at the 70th minute that could have sealed the deal for the match but the referee dismisses calls – and chants – for a penalty.
Moments later, Hutchinson’s header shakes the crossbar, adding yet another stroke of bad luck for the Maple Leafs. More substitutions are made for both teams as the battle to reach the knockout stages intensifies.
The final whistle blows and the crowd erupts into cheers as Morocco advances into the World Cup knockout stage for the second time in its history.