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Friendlies: Morocco STUN soccer powerhouse Brazil

Last updated on: March 26, 2023 11:02 IST
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Boufal and Sabiri score to give Morocco 2-1 win over Brazil

Brazil

IMAGE: Morocco's Abdelhamid Sabiri celebrates scoring their second goal with teammates. Photograph: Juan Medina/Reuters

Sofiane Boufal and Abdelhamid Sabiri scored to give Morocco a 2-1 victory in a friendly match against Brazil in Tangier on Saturday, earning their first victory ever against the five-time world champions.

World Cup semi-finalists Morocco did not hold back and delivered a statement win against soccer powerhouse Brazil in their first home game after an outstanding Qatar 2022 campaign.

 

Cheered on by 65,000 fans in a sold-out Ibn Batouta stadium in Tangier, Morocco tried to make an early run but a steady Brazil held strong and the match almost turned into an ill-tempered affair, with the Brazilian players complaining bitterly to the referee after a series of bad tackles by the local defenders.

Brazil were more aggressive and controlled possession while Morocco were always dangerous in the counter-attacks.

Brazil

IMAGE: Morocco's Sofiane Boufal scores their first goal. Photograph: Juan Medina/Reuters

Palmeiras winger Rony, who was making his debut in his first call with the Brazilian team, missed a sitter from close range in the 13th minute.

Goalkeeper Yassine Bounou almost gifted Brazil a goal in the 22th minute with a comical mistake while trying to put the ball in play with his feet, but Rony’s shot to an empty goal was blocked by a defender and Bounou manage to recover in time to save Vinicius’ strike from the rebound.

One minute later, Bono once again made a mistake gifting the ball to Vinicius score to an empty goal, but the effort was ruled out by the VAR due to a controversial offside in the build, with the Brazilian players berating the Tunisian official Sadok Selmi.

In the very next play, Emerson Royal lost the ball close to his own box and Morocco didn’t waste the golden opportunity gifted by the defender, with Bilal El Khannous assisting Sofiane Boufal to score from close range.

Brazil

IMAGE: World Cup semi-finalists Morocco did not hold back and delivered a statement win. Photograph: Juan Medina/Reuters

Hakim Ziyech missed wide two great chances for Morocco before the break and goalkeeper Bounou denied a Rodrygo strike from the edge of the area with a Hollywood save.

But Brazil found the equalizer in the 67th minute thanks to a schoolboy mistake by Bounou, who failed to hold on to a weak shot by Casemiro and let the ball slip under him and inside the net.

However, the locals hit back 12 minutes later with substitute Abdelhamid Sabiri, who took down a lost ball inside the Brazilian box and unleashed an unstoppable strike which bounced off the crossbar into the net.

It was a goal that the team and fans needed to complete their celebrations.

Morocco, who became the first Arab team to reach the quarter-finals and the first African team to make the semis, once again pumped their supporters with pride after a World Cup run that spurred tears of joy across Africa and the Arab world.

Germany kick off Euro 2024 mission with 2-0 friendly win over Peru

Germany

IMAGE: Germany's Thilo Kehrer in action with Peru's Pedro Gallese. Photograph: Heiko Becker/Reuters

Germany forward Niclas Fuellkrug scored twice to secure a 2-0 victory over Peru in a friendly on Saturday as the hosts launched their mission to rebuild a competitive team for next year's Euros on home soil.

In their first match since crashing out of last year's World Cup in the first round, the Germans unusually deployed two strikers with Fuellkrug and Timo Werner and were sharp in attack, especially in a strong first half.

They did, however, look uncertain at times with the ball in their own half, repeatedly losing possession and struggling with Peru's high pressing.

"You could see that the team had dynamism, especially in attack. A lot of things were good today, maybe not at 100%," said Germany coach Hansi Flick.

"Sometimes the last pass was not clean enough. We had times where we lost possession. We have to be more careful."

"But we also kept a clean sheet which was very important for us and had worked on it."

The 30-year-old Fuellkrug opened his account in the 12th minute, turning in the ball after Kai Havertz had played it on with his chest. He had also scored their last World Cup group stage goal.

Peru goalkeeper Pedro Gallese pulled off a stunning double save a little later by stopping Florian Wirtz's shot and then denying Werner on the rebound.

But Werder Bremen forward Fuellkrug, who made his Germany debut just days before the World Cup, bagged his fifth goal in his fifth international, flicking in a superb cross from newcomer Marius Wolf in the 33rd.

"It was all about having a good start to the year and excite the fans," Fuellkrug said. "I think we did it well in the first half. Then it got a bit wild in the second half."

Substitute Serge Gnabry rattled the crossbar with a thundering mid-air volley on the hour before Havertz sent a 68th minute penalty onto the post with the Germans having taken much of the pace out of the game.

Germany next play Belgium on March 28 in Cologne.

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Source: REUTERS
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