AFCON 2023 upset: South Africa Stuns Morocco to Secure Quarterfinal Spot

In the quest for the last quarterfinal spot in the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations, Morocco faced South Africa on Tuesday. Despite being favored on paper, Morocco was caught off guard at the San Pedro stadium.

Without key players Ziyech and Boufal, Morocco dominated the first half but struggled to create clear goal-scoring opportunities.

South Africa’s strategy of compact defense and quick counterattacks posed a threat, with a notable attempt by Aaron Mokoena testing Bounou (16’).

In the closing moments of the first half, Amine Adli had an opportunity for Morocco but failed to convert (44’), leaving the score level at halftime.

The second half saw Morocco intensify their efforts, creating significant chances through Ounahi (48’) and Abde Ezzalzouli (50’).

However, during Morocco’s strong offensive phase, South Africa struck decisively. Evidence Makgopa, set up by a precise pass from Tembo Zwane, slid the ball past Yassine Bounou (0-1, 57’).

Despite Morocco’s attempts to respond, including a missed penalty by Achraf Hakimi (84’), they couldn’t equalize.

 In the final moments, South Africa sealed the victory with a stunning free-kick from Teboho Makoena (0-2, 90’+5).

The final whistle confirmed South Africa’s upset victory over Morocco, a tournament favorite.

In the quarterfinals, South Africa will face Cape Verde’s Blue Sharks next Saturday.

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