MOROCCO Controlled INTO the last 16 of the World Cup without precedent for 36 years on Thursday with a 2-1 triumph over killed Canada.
Hakim Ziyech and Youssef En-Nesyri’s goals helped the North Africans finish first in Group F, ahead of Croatia, who finished second in the 2018 World Cup.
Morocco, which last made it to the World Cup’s knockout stages in 1986, will play the Group E runners-up in the last 16. The identity of their opponents will be determined later on Thursday.
In contrast, Canada’s loss capped a disappointing World Cup for the CONCACAF team, which missed out on a long-awaited trip to the finals after losing all three of their group games.
By defeating Belgium 2-0 on Sunday, Morocco secured their place in the second round, requiring only a point against Canada on Thursday to ensure their success.
After the Moroccans took the lead after just four minutes in front of 43,102 fans at the Al-Thumama Stadium, achieving that goal never appeared to be in doubt.
Milan Borjan, the captain of Canada and goalkeeper, raced off his line to clear Steven Vitoria’s underhit backpass, but he could only watch in horror as the ball fell to Ziyech of Morocco.
The Chelsea star took advantage of the opportunity with ruthlessness and calmly lobbed a shot past the helpless Borjan into the empty net for a 1-0 score.
Canada was disheartened by this early setback, which made it difficult for them to establish any kind of foothold against a rampant Morocco that soon led 2-0.
En-Nesyri darted in behind after being caught napping by right back Achraf Hakimi’s long ball, and he scored at the near post to beat Borjan.
Five minutes before halftime, defender Sam Adekugbe cleared the field down the left and delivered a low cross that resulted in Canada scoring on a rare forward move.
The ball was deflected into the net by defender Nayef Aguerd with a leg out, beating Morocco goalkeeper Yassine Bounou to make it 2-1.