New Telegraph

February 25, 2024

Qatar 2022: Morocco stun Belgium as Costa Rica beat Japan

Morocco caused the latest shock at a World Cup that has been full of surprises by beating Belgium thanks to late goals by Abdelhamid Sabiri and Zakaria Aboukhlal. Belgium keeper Thibaut Courtois was at fault for the first goal, inexplicably allowing Sabiri’s inswinging free-kick to beat him at his near post with 17 minutes to go, reports the BBC.

But the whole Belgium side paid the price for a ponderous performance, with Morocco capping a magnificent secondhalf display when Aboukhlal fired Hakim Ziyech’s pull-back into the roof of the net in stoppage time. Meanwhile, Costa Rica ignited their World Cup campaign with a smash-and-grab 1-0 win over Japan at the Ahmad bin Ali Stadium.

Luis Fernando Suarez’s men prioritised defensive solidity after their 7-0 humbling at the hands of Spain in their opening match and kept their opponents at bay sufficiently throughout, as the early-afternoon temperature exceeded 30 degrees.

But Costa Rica made Japan pay for their failure to capitalise on their attacking superiority when Keysher Fuller curled a shot over Shuichi Gonda (81) with the team’s first shot on target in the tournament.

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