Morocco stun Brazil in a friendly
TANGIERS. — Morocco stunned Brazil 2-1 in a friendly international football match on Saturday as the north African side recorded a first ever win over the five-time world champions.
World Cup semi-finalists Morocco did not hold back and delivered a statement win against FIFA’s top-ranked side in their first game after an outstanding Qatar 2022 campaign.
Midfielder Sofiane Boufal, a former Southampton star, but now playing with Al Rayyan in Qatar, gave Morocco the lead after 29 minutes, scoring with a powerful turn and drive from a pass by Bilal El Khannous. Brazil skipper Casemiro levelled in the 67th minute when his weak shot was fumbled by goalkeeper Yassine Bounou. But on-loan Sampdoria midfielder Abdelhamid Sabiri struck the winner with a volley in the 79th minute as Morocco showed that becoming the first Arab or African nation to reach the World Cup semi-finals last year was no fluke. “I wouldn’t say we lacked understanding, it’s about putting into practice the ideas of a new coach,” said Manchester United’s Casemiro.
“I think we played a good game and did everything as far as possible to win.” Cheered on by 65 000 fans in a sold-out Ibn Batouta Stadium in Tangier, Morocco tried to make a quick start but a steady Brazil held strong and the match almost turned into an ill-tempered affair, with the Brazilian players complaining bitterly to the referee after a series of bad tackles by the local defenders. Brazil were more aggressive and controlled possession while Morocco were always dangerous on the counter-attack. Palmeiras winger Rony, who was making his debut in his first call with the Brazilian team, missed a sitter from close range in the 13th minute. — AFP.