Morocco shocked Portugal with a 1-0 victory thanks to a Youssef En-Nesyri header, becoming the first African country to advance to a World Cup semifinal.
The solitary goal of the quarterfinal was a spectacular effort by En-Nesyri in the 42nd minute, as Morocco held steady despite Portugal’s dominance at Al Thumama Stadium.
Walid Regragui’s team created history by making it to the competition’s last four, where they will take on the victor of Saturday night’s match between England and France.
Cristiano Ronaldo was once again the center of attention prior to the game’s start because he had been benched for two straight contests after Portugal’s victory over Switzerland in the round of 16.
En-Nesyri headed in Yahia Attiyat-cross Allah’s in the 42nd minute as the Portugal goalkeeper hesitated, capitalizing on Diogo Costa’s lapse in goalkeeping.
Following Bruno Fernandes’ daring half-volley that smacked the crossbar, Morocco missed a fantastic opportunity to extend its lead when Attiyat-Allah scuffed an effort wide following a smart counterattack
Ronaldo entered the game in the 51st minute for his 196th Portugal match, tying Bader Al-Mutawa of Kuwait for most men’s international appearances, however he had little effect.
In the 83rd minute, Joao Felix’s powerful drive was deflected over the bar by Moroccan goalkeeper Yassine Bounou, who also had to make a last-second stoppage-time effort from Ronaldo.
Walid Cheddira, a replacement, was sent after receiving two yellow cards in rapid succession, and Pepe missed a goal with seconds left, but Regragui’s team managed to hold on for another unforgettable victory after their round of 16 victory over Spain.