Bafana Bafana of South Africa sprung a surprise in the AFCON2023 round of 16 by beating the highly rated Atlas Lions of Morocco 0:2 to send them packing from the tournament. The first goal in the match came in the 57th minute of play through 23 years old Evidence Makgopa. The second goal came in the 95th minute of play through Teboho Mokoena
It was a big let down for the Atlas Lions as they have had high ratings based on their performance during the last world Cup Tournament in Qatar and their group matches in the AFCON2023 tournament. In the 92nd minute of play, Sofyan Amrabat of Morocco was sent of after collecting a red card from the referee.
In the first half, there were few incidents of note, with the most notable being Noussair Mazraoui’s powerful strike from outside the box, which unfortunately was disallowed for offside. However, the game started to come alive early in the second half when Azzedine Ounahi narrowly missed a volley over the bar from 12 yards out, providing some excitement for the World Cup semi-finalists, Morocco. Against the flow of the game, Evidence Makgopa managed to beat the offside trap and score in the 57th minute, giving South Africa a surprising lead. Morocco, the favorites before the tournament and ranked 12th in the FIFA world rankings, seemed to have a chance to equalize when Ayoub El Kaabi’s shot hit Mothobi Mvala’s arm in close range. However, Hakimi’s penalty struck the crossbar and went over in the final five minutes of the match, adding to Morocco’s frustration. To compound their woes, Amrabat was shown a straight red card for a foul on Mokoena in the 91st minute. In a stunning turn of events, South Africa, who are 56 places below Morocco in the rankings, sealed a memorable victory with Teboho Mokoena’s sensational 25-yard free-kick in stoppage time, making it 2-0.
The ongoing AFCON2023 is springing major surprises as some of the big weights in African football have been sent home and eliminated from the competition. These teams include Egypt, Cameroon, Senegal and now Morocco. South Africa now progresses to the quarter finals of the competition.