SRINAGAR: Morocco continued to produce excellent results in FIFA World Cup 2022 as on Saturday they stunned Portugal 1-0 to enter the semis for the very first time.

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Cristiano Ronaldo

With this win, Morocco became the third team after Croatia and Argentina to reach last four of this World Cup; besides, they also became the first African nation ever to reach this far in a FIFA World Cup. A header by striker Youssef En-Nesyri in the first half saw Morocco cruising ahead with Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal bowing out of this edition.

The third quarterfinal of the FIFA World Cup 2022 at the Al Thumama Stadium got underway with a lot of buzz and noise all around the stadium. Though the news of star Portugal striker Cristiano Ronaldo starting on the bench broke many hearts, the fans didn’t shy away from treating the XI with delight. The first half saw the underdogs, Morocco dominating all throughout. They were brave in their approach, attacking in their style of play and above all looked confident.

Morocco opened the scoring in the 42nd minute with striker Youssef En-Nesyri netting one through a header. A lovely long cross from full-back Y.A Allah resulted in Nesyri giving a beautiful finish. The first half ended with Morocco leading 1-0.

The second half brought fresh energy into the game. Cristiano Ronaldo coming on a substitute sounded like celebration as he equalled the men’s international world record of 196 caps, a record set by Kuwait international Bader Al-Mutawa. His inclusion saw Portugal changing gears immediately. They started to press more and even came close on creating chances.

However, a fruitful result didn’t look like coming despite top efforts. In the end, the star-studded Portugal was left dejected after going down 0-1 to 10-man Morocco. The 2016 Euro Cup winners knocked out of the FIFA World Cup 2022, and with this, Cristiano Ronaldo’s dream of winning a World Cup with Portugal also diminished.

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