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WATCH: Morocco's Sabiri scores first free-kick goal at 2022 World Cup

19:29 GMT+3 27/11/2022
Abdelhamid Sabiri scores for Morocco.
Morocco midfielder Abdelhamid Sabiri scored the first goal from a direct free-kick at the 2022 World Cup as his team beat Belgium 2-0 on Sunday.

  • Sabiri surprised Courtois with the stunning shot
  • The goal came five minutes after his introduction
  • Morocco kept second-ranked Belgium quiet

WHAT HAPPENED? Sabiri, who was a 68th minute substitute when he came on for Selim Amallah, hammered in a 73rd minute free-kick to open the scoring, before Zakaria Aboukhlal slotted in from close range in added time.

A foul on the left side of Morocco's attack yielded the free-kick which Sabiri whipped in on his right foot, surprising Belgium goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois who failed to keep it out.

THE BIGGER PICTURE: It was the second free-kick Morocco had gotten past Courtois in the game after Hakim Ziyech thought he had opened the scoring in similar fashion in the dying minutes of the first half but it was ruled out by VAR after defender Roman Sais was adjudged to have been offside as the ball came in.

There was no escaping for the Belgians at the second time of asking, however, following Sabiri's pin-point delivery.

The Atlas Lions have now put themselves in good position to advance from what was described as 'the group of death,' that also has 2018 runners-ups Croatia, and Canada, as they have four points from two matches, following their goalless draw with the Croats.

WHAT'S NEXT? Morocco face Canada on Thursday and would need just a draw to qualify for the knockout round for just the second time in their history, irrespective of the outcome of the Croatia and Canada match.