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Yassine Bounou and Morocco keep calm, upset Spain in penalty kick shootout

Morocco national team star Achraf Hakimi delivered the winning penalty kick as the Atlas Lions stunned Spain to confirm their place in the 2022 FIFA World Cup quarterfinals on Tuesday, winning 3-0 in a penalty shootout following a 0-0 draw over 120 minutes at the Education City Stadium in Al Rayyan. Spain dominated the ball but failed to break down an inspired Moroccan defense and goalkeeper Yassine Bounou who saved all three of Spain’s attempts from the spot. Morocco, the only team from outside Europe and South America remaining in the competition, advance to the quarterfinals for the first time in their history where they await the winner between Portugal and Switzerland.

Motivated by a vocal crowd the Moroccan team got off to an excellent start and looked more threatening in the first half. Hakimi and fellow Atlas Lions fullback Noussair Mazraoui provided energetic displays on the wings with Mazraoui forcing a save out of Spain keeper Unai Simón with his 33rd minute shot. Morocco came closest to scoring before halftime in the 42nd minute but center back Nayef Aguerd sent his header over the bar from a Sofiane Boufal cross.

Spain went on to dominate possession by a large margin after the halftime break but met a goalkeeper in Bounou who was determined to preserve his clean sheet. The Sevilla player punched away Dani Olmo’s dangerous shot from out wide in the 54th minute and did well to deny Olmo’s free kick effort in the final seconds of the second half. The Spanish attack remained ineffective throughout a second half that featured few opportunities for either team heading into extra time.

Morocco had one golden opportunity to win it in extra time but substitute Walid Cheddira’s shot was kept out by Simón after the forward was set up by an excellent through pass from Azzedine Ounahi. Spanish substitute Pablo Sarabia nearly scored in the final seconds of extra time but his volley from out wide clipped the post on its way past.

Penalty kicks were the only way to determine a winner and Bounou made his impact immediately after Abdelhamid Sabiri converted the opening attempt, causing Pablo Sarabia to put his shot off the post to give Morocco an early lead. Bounou confirmed his Man of the Match performance by saving Spain’s next two attempts from Carlos Soler and Sergio Busquets, setting up the winning moment for Madrid-born Hakimi with a confident chip up the middle past Simón to send the supporters into jubilation.

Highlights from the match are below.

Morocco 0-0 Spain (Morocco win 3-0 in penalties) Highlights


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