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South Africa 0-1 Morocco: Boussoufa steals late win with instinctive strike

Daniel Orme in Editorial, General Soccer News 1 Jul 2019

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Mbark Boussoufa scored in the 90th minute against South Africa on Monday evening to ensure Morocco kept up their perfect record so far in the African Cup of Nations.

Hervé Renard’s men, who had already qualified for the next stage of the competition, were made to work for their win. Just as though it looked like they were going to have to settle for a solitary point, the midfielder struck with only minutes remaining to ensure another win and make sure South Africa suffer a nervous wait to see if they will be joining their opponent in the knockout rounds.

Low key affair

Younes Belhanda had the first opportunity of a low-key affair as he latched onto a free-kick at the far post but could not strike the opening blow.

It took until ten minutes before the break for the game to really ignite into life following that chance. First, Percy Tau fired an effort just wide of goal before Belhanda this time forced a routine stop out of Ronwen Williams as the game headed into half-time.

Close opportunities after the break

South Africa resumed the second-half very well and Thamsanqa Mkhize arguably went the closest to opening the scoring as he lashed a powerful effort marginally wide. Young forward Youssef En-Nesyri then went close for Morocco but his glancing header dropped just off target too.

Stuart Baxter’s South Africa were then made to breathe a huge sigh of relief as defender Achraf Hakimi cut inside and unleashed a thunderous effort that crashed off of the crossbar.

Morocco were beginning to dominate mid-way through the second period and En-Nesyri then spurned another wonderful opportunity as he was played through and skipped around the goalkeeper. However, his touch took him slightly wide and he was unable to convert. He then put another header straight at Williams.

Boussoufa reacts first to steal victory

With the game really petering out in the closing stages, it took a great display of reactions from Boussoufa to finally see the net bulge. From a Morocco free-kick on the left-flank, the ball was hoisted into the box, with it falling to the Al-Shabab man. He then swung his left boot at the ball, powering it beyond Williams and into the top corner to claim the three points and break South African hearts.

Final Thoughts

This game severely lacked any quality at all until the final few moments. Only Hakimi and Boussoufa were able to conjure any sort of brilliance, with the former’s strike that deflected off of the bar and the latter’s goal. Morocco were probably deserved winners on the night as South Africa really struggled to assert themselves in the game, especially in an attacking sense. As a result, they now face a nervous wait to see if they will be named as one of the best third-placed teams in the competition and secure their progression to the next round.

Match Report

South Africa: Williams (6); Hlanti (6), Mkhwanazi (5), Hlatshwayo (6), Mkhize (5); Zungu (6) (Kekana (N/A), 81′), Mokotjo (6), Serero (6); Tau (6), Mothiba (5) (Veldwijk (5), 73′), Zwane (5) (Zungu (N/A), 76′).

Morocco: Munir (6); Hakimi (7), Saiss (6), da Costa (6), Mazraoui (6) (Pedro (5), 75′); Boussoufa (7), El Ahmadi (6) (Bennasser (6), 54′); Amrabat (6), Belhanda (7), Ziyech (6) (Fajr (N/A), 90′); En-Nesyri (6).

Goals: Boussoufa (90′)

Referee: Jean-Jacques Ndala Ngambo

Yellow Cards: Zwane (18′), Zungu (31′)

Red Cards: N/A

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Daniel Orme


Daniel is a football journalism graduate from the University of Derby. He has been freelance writing for approximately six years now and brings considerable experience. A season ticket holder at local club Leicester City, he witnessed the Foxes miraculously lifting the Premier League trophy in the 2015/16 campaign.

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