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Morocco Player Ratings: Ziyech and Hakimi brilliant as Atlas Lions upset Belgium

19:47 GMT+3 27/11/2022
Hakim Ziyech Achraf Hakimi Morocco.
GOAL rates the Atlas Lions' performance after they collected their first win after sharing the points with Croatia

Morocco powered themselves to a surprise victory after beating Belgium 2-0 in a World Cup group stage game on Sunday.

The Africans claimed the vital victory after Abdelhamid Sabiri and Zakaria Aboukhlal's second-half goals.

Sabiri’s opener was Morocco’s first-ever direct free-kick goal at the World Cup.

The game was was also the first time that the Atlas Lions recorded consecutive clean sheets at the World Cup since 1986.

The goals sparked wild celebrations at the Al Thumama Stadium as Morocco picked up a victory that significantly boosts their chances of progressing to the Round of 16.

  • Munir Mohamedi Morocco.

    Munir Mohamedi 8/10

    He came on for Yassine Bounou and did not disappoint in goal.

    Made a good save to deny Mitchy Batshuayi, who had been released by Thorgan Hazard in the sixth minute. The goalkeeper was also at ease and collected a low drive by Thomas Meunier.

    He managed to pull off a decisive save in the 65th minute when Dries Mertens, who beat a number of Moroccan defenders, attempted to score from close range.

  • Achraf Hakimi

    Achraf Hakimi 9/10

    He did well to man-mark Eden Hazard, and this limited Belgium’s source of creativity in the final third.

    Hakimi was also quick to join the attack, and in the 26th minute, he won an aerial ball and passed it to Selim Amallah, whose shot went high as he was partially blocked from having a full view of the goal area.

    Before he was substituted, he had managed to close the space on his wing and denied Belgium chances to launch persistent attacks.

  • Romain Saiss Morocco.

    Romain Saiss 8.5/10

    He made a vital tackle that brought De Bruyne down in the 10th minute. Had he not taken the decision to confront the Belgian, the Manchester City man could have caused havoc in Morocco's penalty box.

    As the captain, he led by example, cleared aerial balls, tackled key Belgian players, and produced defense-splitting passes that the opponents found hard to deal with.

  • Nayef Aguerd Morocco.

    Nayef Aguerd 8.5/10

    The centre-back was in the right place to clear De Bruyne's free-kick in the 10th minute when Belgium won a set-piece just outside the box.

    Throughout the game, he and Saiss stood firm, and Belgium found it really hard to find a way past him.

  • Noussair Mazraoui Morocco.

    Noussair Mazraoui 7.5/10

    Although his wing was quite in the opening minutes as Belgium preferred attacking from the right wing, Mazraoui stood tall in the moments he was confronted by the opponents.

    He was not dragged out of position by the clever Belgian tactics as he manned the left-back position with the keenness of a hawk.

  • Azzedine Ounahi Morocco.

    Azzedine Ounahi 8/10

    He was a dominant figure in the midfield just like Amrabat and gave the Atlas Lions an incredible fighting chance, especially by going forward.

    Ounahi frustrated De Bruyne and Amadou Onana, who were expected to be Belgium's great sources of creativity in the final third.

  • Selim Amallah Morocco.

    Selim Amallah 8.5/10

    He was quick to recover balls in the midfield when Morocco lost possession.

    His quick reaction in the 29th minute proved to be a crucial intervention after Hakimi lost the ball to Thorgan Hazard. This saved Morocco from conceding at a time they were a little stretched at the back.

  • Hakim Ziyech Morocco.

    Hakim Ziyech 9/10

    He started with power and beat Timothy Castagne on the right wing, but there was no Moroccan to connect on his final shot in the first minute.

    The winger was disappointed when his goal in the extra minute of the first half was canceled for offside.

    Ziyech returned from the break more ambitious and was involved in almost every Moroccan attack. His clever runs proved vital for Walid Regragui’s side, and he was involved in the build-up to the second goal.

  • Sofiane Boufal Morocco.

    Sofiane Boufal 8.5/10

    Just like he was against Croatia, he was a constant mennace on the left flank.

    He launched a great pass to Ziyech in the 45th minute, after beating Thorgan Hazard, and this gave Morocco a free-kick. 

    The Belgian were lucky to clear the ball as they were put under pressure by the North Africans in injury time of the first half.

    In the 56th minute, he beat Meunier and launched a low, swinging shot toward goal, which went wide. It would have been a classic goal had he found the back of the net.

  • Youssef En-Nesyri Morocco.

    Youssef En-Nesyri 7.5/10

    He was quite isolated in the first half as Morocco's attacks came from Ziyech's flank.

    In the 50th minute, he got a chance to test Thibaut Courtois after a nice ball from Ziyech, but the Belgian goalkeeper managed to stop the shot fired from about 20 yards. 

    Being the focal point of the attacking setup, he was – as expected – under constant check by the Belgian defenders.

  • Yahya Attiat-Allah Morocco.

    Yahya Attiat-Allal 8/10

    He came on for Hakimi in the 68th minute and was as brilliant as the man he replaced.

    Attiat-Allah was part of the attacking men when Morocco were pushing forward and did not forget his defensive duties.

  • Sofyan Amrabat Morocco.

    Sofyan Amrabat 8/10

    He took one for the team when he brought Thorgan Hazard down in a dangerous area in the 15th minute. Despite a training-ground move, Morocco cleared De Bruyne's resultant 25-yard free kick.

    Amrabat was a present figure in the midfield, and this gave the Atlas Lions an advantage in the middle of the pack.

  • Abdelhamid Sabiri  Morocco.

    Abdelhamid Sabiri 9.5/10

    He came on for Amallah and injected the necessary impetus for the Moroccan attacking department.

    Sabiri scored the opener in a classic manner to hand the Atlas Lions all three points and incredibly boosted their chances of progressing from the group.

  • Zakaria Aboukhlal Morocco.

    Zakaria Aboukhlal 9.5/10

    Another substitute that had a real impact on the game.

    After he replaced Boufal, he did not disappoint and was on the scoresheet after connecting well with Ziyech’s cross to score the second goal.