Afcon: Hakimi misses penalty and Amrabat sent off as South Africa stun Morocco | Africa Cup of Nations 2023

Football News Football Transfer Sports News
Help Us Share This Article

Evidence Makgopa and Teboho Mokoena scored second-half goals as South Africa shocked Morocco with a 2-0 victory to dump the World Cup semi-finalists out of the Africa Cup of Nations at the last-16 stage in San Pedro.

Morocco, who had Sofyan Amrabat sent off late on, were among the favourites at the tournament in Ivory Coast, but their continental curse continues and they remain without a Cup of Nations title since 1976, this time undone in the muggy heat of the Laurent Pokou Stadium.

South Africa led in the 57th minute when midfielder Themba Zwane, so often the creative fulcrum of the side, slipped a pass through to tall striker Makgopa and he calmly slid the ball past Yassine Bounou, before Mokoena fired in a superb late free-kick.

Morocco had a chance to level with the score at 1-0 when they were awarded a penalty, but Achraf Hakimi hit the crossbar. South Africa, winners in 1996 but who have not been past the quarter-finals since 2000, will play Cape Verde in the quarter-finals in Yamoussoukro on Saturday.

Morocco looked to be suffering in the oppressive heat and were a far cry from the entertaining side that delighted at the World Cup in Qatar, missing the attacking talents of injured playmaker Hakim Ziyech. They could not break their opponents down, and even when gifted a clear penalty following a handball by defender Mothobi Mvala, Hakimi summed up their night by hitting the frame of the goal.

Morocco’s Achraf Hakimi is consoled by Amine Harit after a defeat which featured a missed penalty by the PSG full-back. Photograph: Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters

The first half was devoid of many clearcut chances as South Africa took a cautious approach and played a containment game, keeping their structure and not throwing bodies into attack. Mokoena forced a good save from Bounou with a shot from 30 yards, while Percy Tau headed wide from a corner. But the best opportunity of the opening 45 minutes fell to Moroccan winger Amine Adli just before half-time. He delayed his shot from 10 yards and that allowed the covering defence to get across and close him down.

READ ALSO  Liverpool's Mohamed Salah could play against Brentford on Saturday

Once Makgopa had given South Africa the lead, they went even further into their shell, relying on the counterattack. Their second goal was a sublime free kick from dead-ball specialist Mokoena in the fifth minute of stoppage time as he smashed the ball into the back of the net after Amrabat had been sent off for a professional foul.

Mali profited from quick starts to each half as an own goal from Edmond Tapsoba and a strike by Lassine Sinayoko secured a 2-1 victory over Burkina Faso.

Mali scored within three minutes at the start of the match as the unfortunate Tapsoba turned the ball into his own net, and caught the Burkinabe cold again when they added a second two minutes after the break as Sinayoko netted his third goal of the tournament.

Lassine Sinayoko celebrates scoring Mali’s decisive second goal. Photograph: Fadel Senna/AFP/Getty Images

Burkina Faso pulled a goal back when Bertrand Traoré slotted a penalty just before the hour-mark, but could not force an equaliser. Mali have a well-deserved reputation for a miserly defence, one of the reasons why they are among the tournament favourites.

Mali are seeking their first continental title and next face hosts Ivory Coast in a quarter-final that will be played in Bouake on Saturday.

No team has played more games, 55, at the Cup of Nations without lifting the trophy than Mali and Tuesday’s encounter was perhaps another indicator of why they can change that this year. They are a difficult side to break down with explosive forwards, and while the scoreline may not have been emphatic, they were comfortable winners in the end.

READ ALSO  Ipswich rescue dramatic point against Leicester after Vestergaard’s own goal | Championship

Mali hit the front inside three minutes when Amadou Haidara’s powerful header rebounded off the post and as Burkina Faso defender Tapsoba tried to clear, he only succeeded in steering the ball into his own net.

If Mali’s start to the first half was fast, their opening to the second period was even quicker as they doubled the score inside two minutes of the kick-off. Sinayoko was played into acres of space on the right-hand side of the box by Hamari Traoré and with time to pick his spot, he coolly slipped the ball under goalkeeper Hervé Koffi.

Burkina Faso had the chance to halve the deficit when the ball struck the outstretched arm of Mali defender Kiki Kouyaté and the Libyan referee, Ibrahim Mutaz, awarded the spot-kick following a VAR review. Traoré made no mistake from 12 yards.

Chasing the game, they pushed forward looking for an equaliser and had the ball in the back of the net through Issoufou Dayo, but he was well offside and they could not create another chance in the closing minutes.

Source link

Help Us Share This Article

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *