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Qatar 2023: Africa erupts in joy as Morocco beat Portugal to qualify for semi final

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The whole of Africa has erupted in bouts of joy as the Atlas Lions of Morocco becomes the first team from the continent to qualify for the semi final of the World Cup after beating highly favoured Portugal 1-0 in a quarter final match played on Saturday.

The star studded Portugese team replete with the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Bruno Fernandes, Pepe, Joao Felix and Bernardo came into the match as the favourite to win and they showed with a dominant performance but could not break down the North Africans who, once again, surprised many by coming out tops with a disciplined performance.

The game’s only goal came in the 42nd minute when Morocco’s Yahya Attiat-Allah lofted a ball in front of the Portugal goal and Youssef En-Nesyri soared high and headed it down past the keeper, making him the first Moroccan player to score at two World Cups.

Despite ending the match with 10 men, Morocco held on stoically with goalkeeper Yassine “Bono” Bounou thwarting every effort the Europeans had at levelling up.

In beating Portugal, Morocco created a record by zooming into the World Cup without losing a match and only conceding an own goal against Canada.

The African team drew with Croatia, beat Belgium, Canada, Spain and Portugal on its way to Africa’s first World Cup semi final.

Morocco now awaits the winner of Saturday’s late game between France and England to see who it will play in the semifinals on Wednesday.

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Jose Mourinho extols Nigerian forward, Victor Osimhen, after wonder goal

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Roma manager, Jose Mourinho, has heaped praises on Nigerian forward, Victor Osimhen, after the striker scored a wonder goal which can potentially compete for the goal of the season in the Italian Serie A.

The former Chelsea boss said Osimhen, who is a target of one of his former clubs, Manchester United, can compare favourably with former Ivorian striker, Didier Drogba who terrorised defences in the English Premier League.

However, Mourinho said the only hindrance to the Napoli striker reaching legendary status is if he desists from “diving” to gain favours from referees.

“He is of the same level as Drogba, but Didier didn’t dive,” Mourinho told reporters after the game when asked to access the Super Eagles forward’s performance.

“If Victor changes, then OK. I’d buy him if I was at a club with a lot of money.”

“However, if he does go to England one day, he needs to change, because in Italy they put up with this sort of behaviour, whereas in the Premier League, they’d come down hard on him.”

“I told him that he scored a wonderful goal and needs to stop diving so much. His goal was fantastic, he did the same thing when we met earlier this season, so he’s a fantastic player. But he mustn’t dive,” the Portuguese coach said.

The red hot Osimhen, has scored 14 goals in 16 league matches, propelling Napoli to a healthy 13 point lead at the top of thr Serie A.

Watch Osimhen’s wonder goal against Roma here:

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CHAN 2023: Niger, Madagascar make history, beat Ghana, Mozambique, to reach semi-finals

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It was a night of shocks and history on Saturday at the ongoing African Nations Championship (CHAN) in Algeria when one of the tournament’s favourites, Ghana, was knocked out by outsiders, Niger Republic in a 2-0 defeat which saw the Nigeriens qualify for the semi-finals.

As if the shock was not enough, first-time qualifiers, Madagascar, thumped Mozambique 3-1 to also qualify for the semi-final in some style.

While Madagascar was dealing with Mozambique in Constantine, Niger shocked two-time runners-up, Ghana, in Oran to complete the last-four line-up alongside host, Algeria and Senegal.

Niger’s reward is a date with Algeria while Madagascar will square up against Senegal, both on Tuesday.

Though Algeria and Senegal are outright favourites to win the tournament meant for African footballers playing in their country of birth, pundits believe underating the so called minnows could spell doom as Ghana, Cameroon, DR Congo and other top playing nations found out the hard way.

Madagascar had earlier shocked Ghana and hammered Sudan to win Group C, while Niger had pulled up the shock of the group stages by sending Cameroon packing with a 1-0 victory in their last group D match.

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