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Qatar 2022: Morocco stun Belgium 2-0 to record one of Africa’s greatest World Cup victories

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Morocco on Sunday, recorded one of Africa’s greatest World Cup victories when the Atlas Lions stunned Belgium 2-0 in their second Group F match with substitutes Abdelhamid Sabiri and Zakaria Aboukhlal scoring in the second half to brighten their chances of getting out of the group.

The win over the number two ranked team in the world at a packed Al Thumama Stadium, is only Morocco their first World Cup victory in 24 years as they upset a hugely disappointing Belgium side to garner four points and move to the top of the group.

It was Morocco’s first win at a World Cup since they beat Scotland in 1998.

Belgium, who had scraped a 1-0 win over Canada in their opening game, looked a shadow of the team who finished third in 2018, while the Moroccans showed a lot of guts and purpose.

Morocco thought they had scored in the first half when Hakim Ziyech fired a free kick that bounced past the keeper at the near post on the stroke of halftime but the was ruled out after a VAR review shiwed that Besiktas defender, Romain Saiss was marginally offside and was obstructing Thibout Courtois’ view.

But in the second half, Morocco substitute Sabiri broke the deadlock in the 73rd with an angled free kick similar to the one that led to the ruled-out goal in the first half, as Courtois could only fumble the ball into the net.

The second goal came from a cut back with Aboukhlal rifling home Ziyech’s cross into the roof of the net.

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CHAN 2023: Senegal beat host Algeria on penalty shootout to become African homebased champions

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The Teranga Lions of Senegal pulled up a big surprise by dashing the hopes of Algeria winning the TotalEnergies African Nations Championship (CHAN) on home soil with a 5-4 victory on penalties to add to its Afcon trophy.

In a tense final match of the tournament played at the magnificent Nelson Mandela Stadium in Algiers, the Local Teranga Lions edged the hosts in front of 39,120 spectators on a cold winter night.

Senegal’s win also meant they are now the undisputed champions of African football which has seen the West African nation complete a rare treble of triumphs which has see them lift the prestigious Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) as well as the Beach Soccer AFCON.

In the final match proper, both teams took time to size out each other and seemed tense in the opening minutes of the match which boiled over when Gabonese referee, Pierre Ghislain Atcho, dished out four yellow cards in the opening half hour.

With the scoreline goalless at the half-time mark, both coaches Madjid Bougherra and Pape Thiaw made some changes in the second half which increased the intensity while maintaining a balanced outlook on the night.

The game ended goalless after regular time and extratime and went straight into penalties with the Teranga Lions holding their nerves to win 5-4.

Meanwhile, Algeria set a new tournament record by not conceding in six games at the tournament in regular time while the final was the first game to go into extra time.

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Kenya’s Edwin Kibet wins 2023 Lagos City Marathon

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Kenyan long distance runner, Edwin Kibet Koech, has won the 8th edition of the Access Bank Lagos City Marathon held in Nigeria on Saturday.

The 39-year-old Kibet finished the 42km race in two hours, 14 minutes and six seconds to beat Ethiopia’s Dekeba Shefa and fellow Kenyan, Bernard Sang, who finished second and third respectively.

For his feat, Kibet took home the grand prize of $50,000, while Shefa and Sang carted home $40,000 and $30,000 respectively.

In the female category, Alemenseh Guta of Ethiopia was the first woman to cross the finish line, with compatriot Kebene Urisa and Kenya’s Naomi Maiyo coming second and third respectively.

The annual event sponsored by one of Nigeria’s elite financial institutions, Access Bank, was recently upgraded by the world athletics body to a gold label, meaning that the winners of both the men and women’s races have also qualified for the marathon events at the 2024 Olympics scheduled for Paris, France.

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