Goalkeeper Yassine Bounou was the hero on the night when Morocco held their own in a marathon 120 minutes of football to withstand endless threats from Spain attack. It ended goalless still and the game went into penalty.
The African side came out 3-0 winners after Bounou (Bono) save Spain’s kicks.
In the Round of 16 fixture at Education City Stadium, the Atlas Lions produced a solid performance to deny the 2010 World champions in normal and extra-time.
During penalties, the Sevilla goalkeeper was the hero and kept out Carlos Soler and Sergio Busquets’ efforts while Pablo Sarabia hit the post. Abdelhamid Sabiri, Hakim Ziyech and Achraf Hakimi scored for Morocco.
Bono’s display no doubt caught the attention of the 49-year-old former Super Eagles captain Jay Jay Okocha, who insists Morocco knew they would succeed during penalties.
Here are two key things Okocha discovered as he praised the performance of the goalkeeper.
- He trust himself: Okocha said the confidence of Bono is one thing to envy as the goalkeeper believed in himself.
He added that Bono’s body language showed how much of confidence he has in his abilities.
“From the body language of the keeper, he trusts himself, he’s very confident. He trusts in his ability,” Okocha told SuperSport TV.
- The only way: Okocha said it appears Bono and his teammates knew the only way they could have beaten Spain is via penalty, hence their strong defence on the back line.
He said Morocco were battered as Spain gained so much of the ball possession, but the Atlas Lions defended their own.
“It looked like this is the only way they could have won the game because they got battered when it came to possession play but when your game is to defend, you should at least have some qualities when it gets to penalties. And that’s what they showed.”
The Atlas Lions now become the fourth African team to reach the quarter-finals of the tournament after Cameroon in 1990, Senegal in 2002 and Ghana in 2010.