AFCON 2023: S’ Africa Eliminate Morocco To Reach Last-8

By Chimezie Nebolisa
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South Africa knocked out a 10-man Morocco out of the Africa Cup of Nations at the Round of 16 stage in San Pedro.

Second half goals from Evidence Makgopa and Teboho Mokoena earned Bafana Bafana a famous victory against a Moroccan side who saw Achraf Hakimi miss a late penalty and finished with ten men after Sofyan Amrabat was sent off.

Morocco had a string of openings and largely dominated possession, but South Africa were a threat throughout on the counter and they opened the scoring with one such move as Makgopa avoided the wonky offside trap and finished well into the bottom corner, with the goal allowed to stand after a VAR review.

It looked like the Atlas Lions had been handed a reprieve when an unintentional but goal-saving handball by Mothobi Mvala saw Morocco awarded a penalty and a chance to level with just six minutes left on the clock.

But Hakimi hit the bar from the spot, and things went from bad to worse for Morocco when Amrabat was adjudged to have fouled Mokoena as last man and was shown a second yellow, which was subsequently upgraded to a straight red after a VAR review.

And Mokoena sealed the win for South Africa by whipping home a brilliant shot from the free-kick he had just won, sparking jubilant scenes in the Bafana Bafana squad.

They will now face Cabo Verde in a quarter-final of AFCON underdogs, while Morocco will rue a huge missed opportunity to win the continent’s biggest prize.