Morocco’s AFCON campaign ended in shocking fashion with a 2-0 defeat to South Africa in a match that saw Achraf Hakimi miss a late chance to equalize from the penalty spot at Laurent Pokou Stadium in San Pedro
Evidence Makgopa’s precision finish in the 57th minute, which survived a VAR check for offside, set Bafana Bafana on course for an unexpected win.
The Atlas Lions dominated early but struggled to finish their chances. Against the run of play, Evidence Makgopa put South Africa ahead just before the hour.
The tension reached its peak as Hakimi, with the chance to level the game, struck his 85th-minute penalty against the crossbar, leaving the Moroccan side reeling.
Manchester United midfielder Sofyan Amrabat was later sent off in stoppage time, before Teboho Mokoena sealed the upset with a stylish free kick past Bono.
South Africa’s sensational triumph sets up an Africa Cup of Nations quarterfinal clash against Cape Verde, as they aim to surpass their 2019 quarterfinal exit. Meanwhile, Africa’s top-ranked side, Morocco, will have to wait until Afcon 2025 to end their long quest for a second continental title stretching back to 1976.
The match saw Morocco without key forwards Hakim Ziyech and Sofiane Boufal due to injuries. Despite this, they missed several excellent opportunities in the first half, with Mvala blocking fierce shots from Hakimi and Adli. However, Makgopa capitalized on a chance, slotting in a goal from a tight angle to secure his first international goal in over two years. VAR allowed the controversial opener to stand, leading to further frustration for Morocco.
With both sides pressing for goals, Hakimi’s penalty miss added to the suspense of the match. Amrabat’s subsequent red card for fouling Mokoena opened the door for South Africa, and Mokoena took full advantage, sealing their historic win with a brilliant free kick.
The South Africans now faces Cape Verde at the up a quarter-final.