Morocco defeated Spain on penalties to reach the quarterfinals of the FIFA World Cup for the first time in history at the Education City Stadium.
After an intense but fruitless 120 minutes, penalties were needed to decide the winner where Yassine Bounou denied Pablo Sarabia, Carlos Soler and Sergio Busquets in successive attempts to make Morocco the first African side to win a penalty shootout in a World Cup.
The match itself went as expected with the 2010 champions dominating possession in their typical style. Morocco, who had conceded just a single goal throughout the tournament, allowed them to keep the ball but kept them away from any dangerous areas.
It was Morocco which fashioned the first real chance of the game with Achraf Hakimi blasting over the bar from a freekick before Nayef Aguerd missed with a header before the break.
Spain’s best chance of the first half fell to Marco Asensio who found the side netting.
Dani Olmo then drew a save from Bounou in the 54th minute to remind Morocco of the danger they still faced before Alvaro Morata and Nico Williams tried to beat the 31-year-old keeper as well without success.
The African nation had to stay vigilant in the extra time to take the game to penalties where Bounou showed his class to deny all three of Spain’s penalty takers.
Hakimi stepped up to take the decisive spot kick and beat Unai Simon with a panenka to seal a historic win for his side.
The loss to Morocco in a penalty shootout is the second successive for Spain in the round of 16 of the FIFA World Cup in the same fashion, having lost to Russia in 2018 as well on penalties.