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Friday, June 21, 2024

South Africa knock World Cup semi-finalists Morocco out of Africa Cup of Nations

World Cup semi-finalists Morocco have been knocked out of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations at the last-16 stage after a 2-0 loss to South Africa.

Goals from Evidence Makgopa and Teboho Mokoena secured South Africa’s quarter-final spot, while Achraf Hakimi missed a late penalty for Morocco.

Morocco are the second of the pre-tournament favourites to exit the competition in as many days after reigning champions Senegal were beaten on penalties by the Ivory Coast on Monday.

Egypt, runners-up two years ago, were also eliminated at the last-16 stage following a penalty shootout loss to DR Congo.

South Africa took the lead after 57 minutes as Makgopa finished past goalkeeper Bono.

Morocco were handed a golden opportunity to equalise in the 84th minute as substitute Ayoub El Kaabi’s effort struck the out-stretched arm of defender Mothobi Mvala. A penalty was awarded following a VAR review, but Hakimi sent the subsequent spot kick onto the bar.

Morocco were reduced to 10 men in the latter stages as Sofyan Amrabat received a second yellow card. This was amended to a straight red card following a VAR review as the midfielder was deemed to be the last man when he committed the foul.

Mokoena scored from the resulting free-kick to put the game beyond Morocco.

Morocco reached the semi-finals of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, becoming the first African side in the history of the competition to do so, beating Spain and Portugal en route to the last-four.

South Africa will play Cape Verde in Saturday’s quarter-final.

More to follow

 (Sia Kambou/AFP via Getty Images)

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