Brave Bafana bamboozle Morocco and book a spot in quarterfinals

Bafana Bafana sensationally advanced to the quarterfinals of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) after beating number-one-ranked side Morocco 2-0 at the Stade de San Pédro on Tuesday night. 

Thanks to two second half goals from striker Evidence Makgopa and a stunning free kick from Teboho Mokoena.

The victory means South Africa have now booked themselves a meeting against Cape Verde on Saturday night.

Bafana coach Hugo Broos named an unchanged side once again, as he went for a 4-2-4 formation against an attacking 4-3-3 formation set-up by Morocco coach Walid Regragui.

The first half was nervy for Bafana, as the Atlas Lions of Morocco came out guns blazing and took the game to the South Africans.

However, Broos’ troops displayed resilience throughout the half and went into the break goalless.

The second half was more or less the same, as the north Africans picked up from where they left off and crowded the Bafana half, but once again, the South Africans were disciplined in defence and showed character.

In the 57th minute, Makgopa landed the first blow and found the back of the net after a good passage of play and an assist from Themba Zwane.

The goal then forced the Moroccans to open up as they threw everything at Bafana in search of an equaliser.

Indeed, they were granted an opportunity to level matters in the dying stages of the game when Mothobi Mvala handled the ball inside the box and the referee pointed to the penalty spot.

Paris Saint-Germain star Achraf Hakimi stepped up, but to the fortunes of Bafana, the speedy fullback ballooned the ball, struck the post and the score remained at 1-0.

South Africa couldn’t have sealed the game any better when Mokoena doubled the score in stoppage time with a delightful free kick from the edge of the box after he was brought down by midfielder Sofyan Amrabat, who was sent for an early shower after being shown a straight red card.

Mokoena stepped up and pulled his trademark long-range shot, leaving a fully stretched Yassine Bounou with no chance but to look, stare and admire a beautifully well-worked free kick.

Morocco becomes the fourth north African side to be eliminated from the competition after Algeria, Tunisia and Egypt were sent packing. 

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