Rabat - Millions of Moroccan football fans have to thank the Atlas Lions center forward Khalid Boutaib for a much-needed victory over Gabon in Group C's fifth round of the 2018 World Cup African Qualifiers during the two teams's face-off in Mohammed V stadium in Casablanca on Saturday.
Rabat – Millions of Moroccan football fans have to thank the Atlas Lions center forward Khalid Boutaib for a much-needed victory over Gabon in Group C’s fifth round of the 2018 World Cup African Qualifiers during the two teams’s face-off in Mohammed V stadium in Casablanca on Saturday.
Boutaib proved to be the striker the Moroccan team has been looking for when he scored three crucial goals to lead Morocco to victory.
Since the early minutes of the first half of the game, the Moroccan team started putting pressure on the Gabon defense, creating several opportunities to score, especially through the right corner where the trio Hakim Ziyech, Noredin Amrabat and Nabil Dirar were active, trying to get the ball Khalid Boutaib, the team’s striker.
For 37 minutes the Moroccan players failed, despite their continuous efforts, to net a goal before more that 50 thousand Moroccan fans go crazy when Boutaib, receiving a spot-on assist from Amrabat, scored the first goal with a beautiful heading.
In the second half of the match, the Moroccans kept putting pressure in search of a second goal. A great collective work between Amrabat, Achraf Hakimi and M’Barek Boussoufa helped score the second goal, in the 56th minute, by Boutaib whose shot could not be stopped by the Gabon goalkeeper.
The Atlas Lions sealed victory in the 72nd minute when Boutaib, face to face with the Gabon goalkeeper, after receiving a crucial assist from Amrabat, netted the third goal for the Moroccan squad, securing victory.
The victory allowed Morocco to ascend to Group C’s first place following Ivory Coast’s draw with Mali on Friday. The Moroccan teams has currently 9 points followed by Ivory Coast with 8 points. The clash between the two teams on November 6 will determine which team will qualify to the World Cup next summer.
The Atlas Lions will have secure at least a draw to book a ticket to the World Cup for the first time in 20 years.