Connect with us

International Football

Boufal and Sabiri score to give Morocco 2-1 win over Brazil – Sports Village Square

Published

on

Morocco v Brazil – Grand Stade de Tanger, Tangier, Morocco – March 25, 2023 Morocco’s Abdelhamid Sabiri celebrates scoring their second goal with teammates REUTERS/Juan Medina

Sofiane Boufal and Abdelhamid Sabiri scored to give Morocco a 2-1 victory in a friendly match against Brazil in Tangier on Saturday, earning their first victory ever against the five-time world champions.

World Cup semi-finalists Morocco did not hold back and delivered a statement win against soccer powerhouse Brazil in their first home game after an outstanding Qatar 2022 campaign.

Cheered on by 65,000 fans in a sold-out Ibn Batouta stadium in Tangier, Morocco tried to make an early run 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 in the counter-attacks.

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.

Advertisement

Goalkeeper Yassine Bounou almost gifted Brazil a goal in the 22th minute with a comical mistake while trying to put the ball in play with his feet, but Rony’s shot to an empty goal was blocked by a defender and Bounou manage to recover in time to save Vinicius’ strike from the rebound.

One minute later, Bono once again made a mistake gifting the ball to Vinicius score to an empty goal, but the effort was ruled out by the VAR due to a controversial offside in the build, with the Brazilian players berating the Tunisian official Sadok Selmi.

In the very next play, Emerson Royal lost the ball close to his own box and Morocco didn’t waste the golden opportunity gifted by the defender, with Bilal El Khannous assisting Sofiane Boufal to score from close range.

Hakim Ziyech missed wide two great chances for Morocco before the break and goalkeeper Bounou denied a Rodrygo strike from the edge of the area with a Hollywood save.

But Brazil found the equalizer in the 67th minute thanks to a schoolboy mistake by Bounou, who failed to hold on to a weak shot by Casemiro and let the ball slip under him and inside the net.

Advertisement

However, the locals hit back 12 minutes later with substitute Abdelhamid Sabiri, who took down a lost ball inside the Brazilian box and unleashed an unstoppable strike which bounced off the crossbar into the net.

It was a goal that the team and fans needed to complete their celebrations.

Morocco, who became the first Arab team to reach the quarter-finals and the first African team to make the semis, once again pumped their supporters with pride after a World Cup run that spurred tears of joy across Africa and the Arab world.

-Reuters

Advertisement

Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

International Football

Two Moroccan football players lost at sea, says club official

Published

on

Abdellatif Akhrif, IRT player reported missing off the coast of M'diq this Saturday, July 6, 2024. © COPYRIGHT: IRT

Two Moroccan players from top-flight soccer side Ittihad Tanger have been missing at sea since Saturday after strong currents drifted their small yacht, a club official said on Sunday.

They were in a group of five players from the club who went cruising off the northern city of Tangier when strong currents and heavy winds drifted their yacht away as they were swimming in deep waters, club deputy president Anass Mrabet told Reuters.

“Three players have already been rescued on Saturday, while research is still ongoing for the missing Salman Harraq and Abdellatif Akhrif,” he said.

The players did not have buoys on them when they jumped from the small yacht to swim, he said citing recounts by rescued players.

While Akhrif, 24, is already a full member of the squad, Harraq, 18, was about to move up to the senior team this year, Mrabet added.

Advertisement

Ittihad Tanger have been in the Moroccan top flight since 2015 and won the league title for the first and only time in their history in the 2017-18 season. However, they have struggled in the lower half of the standings in recent years.

-Reuters

Continue Reading

International Football

FIFA launches ‘Football Manager’ World Cup with $100,000 in prize money

Published

on

FIFA's Chief of Global Football Development and former soccer manager Arsene Wenger speaks during the 74th FIFA Congress at the Queen Sirikit National Convention Center, in Bangkok, Thailand, May 17, 2024. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha/File Photo

FIFA will host its first ever FIFAe World Cup of Football Manager this year to crown the best virtual manager on the highly-popular video game, world soccer’s governing body said on Thursday.

FIFA is partnering with Sports Interactive, the developers of the game that has sold millions of copies and has also been used by several football clubs to scout players and opponents thanks to its extensive database.

Players will compete for $100,000 in prize money in the final event from Aug. 29 to Sept. 1.

“This competition requires participants to demonstrate a profound understanding of football strategy and tactics,” said former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, who is the ambassador for the esports event.

“Success demands not only mastery of game mechanics but also in-depth football knowledge, making this format a fascinating blend.”

Advertisement

FIFA said in the inaugural year of the event, selected member associations will be invited to be represented at the final event.

Member associations from all six confederations are expected to be invited while players can sign up on FIFA’s website.

-Reuters

Advertisement
Continue Reading

International Football

Former Italy international Roberto Baggio robbed at gunpoint

Published

on

Former Italy international Roberto Baggio was assaulted and robbed at gunpoint at his home in northern Italy while watching his country’s match against Spain in the Euro 2024 tournament on Thursday, local police said.

Burglars broke into Baggio’s house near Vicenza, hit him on the head with a gun butt and locked him and his family in a room while they stole jewellery, watches and cash, daily Il Corriere della Sera reported. It said he suffered a deep wound.

“Luckily, the violence I suffered only resulted in a few stitches, bruises and a lot of fear. Now it is to overcome the fear,” Baggio was quoted as saying by Italian news agency ANSA.

Baggio, 57, played for clubs including Juventus (JUVE.MI), opens new tab, AC Milan and Inter Milan. He also played 56 times for Italy, scoring 27 goals, and is widely seen as one of his country’s all-time greats.

After the robbery, Baggio, widely known as the “divine ponytail”, was treated at a local hospital where he received stitches for the head wound, Italian media reported.

Advertisement

Italy lost to Spain 1-0 on Thursday and now must avoid defeat by Croatia to guarantee progression in the tournament.

-Reuters

Continue Reading

Most Viewed