South Africa shock Morocco after Hakimi penalty miss, Mali through

Published February 1, 2024
SAN PEDRO: Morocco’s Achraf Hakimi misses a penalty during the African Cup of Nations round-of-16 match against South Africa at the Laurent Pokou Stadium.—Reuters
SAN PEDRO: Morocco’s Achraf Hakimi misses a penalty during the African Cup of Nations round-of-16 match against South Africa at the Laurent Pokou Stadium.—Reuters

KORHOGO: Morocco became the latest giants to be toppled at a shock-filled Africa Cup of Nations when they fell 2-0 to South Africa on Tuesday, while Mali also booked a quarter-finals place.

Evidence Makgopa and Teboho Mokoena scored in the second half for Bafana Bafana, who once again proved a bogey team for the Atlas Lions, whose Achraf Hakimi missed a penalty.

Since becoming the first African side to reach the World Cup semi-finals in Qatar two years ago, Morocco have lost two of 13 matches, and both defeats were inflicted by South Africa.

The shock last 16 result in the muggy Ivory Coast coastal city of San-Pedro came after Mali overcame Burkina Faso 2-1 in Korhogo with Lassine Sinayoko scoring what proved the key goal.

Morocco join defending champions Senegal, Tunisia, Algeria, Cameroon and Burkina Faso as teams ranked among the top 10 in Africa heading home early.

On Saturday, South Africa will face Cape Verde in Yamoussoukro after hosts Ivory Coast and Mali clash in Bouake.

In the other quarter-finals, Victor Osimhen-inspired Nigeria face Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo meet Guinea on Friday.

South Africa, Ivory Coast, Nigeria and DR Congo are former champions while the other four title contenders are hoping to conquer Africa for the first time.

While Morocco, thanks to their World Cup heroics, were favoured to eliminate South Africa, two factors suggested there was a chance of a shock.

South Africa had won two and drawn two of five previous Cup of Nations meetings with Morocco from 1998.

And despite being an African powerhouse for decades, Morocco have consistently flopped at the Cup of Nations since their lone triumph 48 years ago.

Coach Walid Regragui called the repeated failures an “African curse” and the former national team full-back saw clinical South Africa pull off a deserved victory.

Makgopa stayed just onside to fire Bafana in front on 57 minutes and Morocco squandered a great late chance to equalise when Hakimi fired a penalty against the crossbar and over.

A foul on Mokoena by Manchester United midfielder Sofyan Amrabat led to a VAR review that ended with a straight red card as he was the last defender.

Set-piece specialist Mokoena fired the free-kick past Yassine Bounou and high into the net at the near post.

Sinayoko scored his third goal at the Cup of Nations as Mali reached the quarter-finals for the first time since 2013 by defeating Burkina Faso.

An early Edmond Tapsoba own goal got Mali off to a great start in the 1ast 16 tie and Sinayoko doubled the lead just after half-time.

Captain Bertrand Traore reduced arrears from a penalty for Burkina Faso, who had the ball in the net again only for Issoufou Dayo to be ruled offside.

Victory was a welcome change of fortune for Mali, who have had two first round and two last-16 exits since finishing third in South Africa 11 years ago.

“It was a really tough match against a good side. We had to work extra hard, but I am glad we eventually got the result,” said Sinayoko.

“We can celebrate this victory while keeping at the back of our minds that there is still a lot of work ahead.” The match in the northern Ivorian city kicked off in 36 degrees Celsius (97 Fahrenheit) heat and Mali needed only 133 seconds to score the second fastest goal in the tournament.

A powerful Amadou Haidara header off a cross rebounded off the post, struck the left foot of Tapsoba and rebounded into the net for an own goal.

Watched by Confederation of African Football (CAF) president Patrice Motsepe from South Africa, the football rarely excited the almost-capacity 19,154 crowd until the half-hour mark.

Then, Sinayoko stung the fingers of goalkeeper Herve Koffi with a hard close-range shot that was parried.

Mali went two goals ahead two minutes into the second half as Sinayoko broke clear of Tapsoba and beat Koffi with an angled shot.

But the lead was halved on 57 minutes when Boubakar Kouyate handled a cross and Traore converted his third penalty of the tournament as Mali goalkeeper Djigui Diarra dived the wrong way.

Long-serving defender Dayo thought he had levelled in the final minute of regular time by heading a free-kick past Diarra, but was ruled offside.

Published in Dawn, February 1st, 2024

Opinion

Karachi diary

Karachi diary

If govts could focus a bit more on infrastructure and transportation, the heart of Pakistan would be able to pump a lot more life and activity.

Editorial

Starting over
Updated 01 Mar, 2024

Starting over

Both govt and opposition must resolve that their decisions will prioritise the public good over anything else.
Missing the point
01 Mar, 2024

Missing the point

IN a change of heart, the caretaker prime minister attended the hearing of the Baloch missing persons’ case in the...
Fleecing power consumers
01 Mar, 2024

Fleecing power consumers

THE so-called independent inquiry committee, formed by the power ministry to probe charges of excessive billing by...
Unchanged rating
Updated 29 Feb, 2024

Unchanged rating

Unchanged Moody's rating underscores that fears of default will continue unless a new, larger loan agreement is reached with the IMF.
Silenced voices
29 Feb, 2024

Silenced voices

THE state suddenly seems to be acting more loyal than the king as far as respect for the judiciary is concerned. The...
Gwadar deluge
29 Feb, 2024

Gwadar deluge

GWADAR has been battered with severe rains — the worst since 2010 — with both the town and Ormara to its east ...