The goalkeeper is a main player on Morocco’s Atlas Lions squad.
Rabat – Moroccan international goalkeeper Yassine Bounou has saved a penalty against Wolverhampton Wanderers, leading his club Sevilla FC to the semi-final of the UEFA Europa League—the second tier European club tournament.
The clash between the Spanish club and its English opponent took place on Tuesday, August 11, in Duisburg, Germany. The match ended in a 1-0 win for Sevilla, thanks to Yassine Bounou’s penalty save in the 13th minute of the game.
Facing Wolverhampton’s forward Raul Jimenez, Yassine Bounou predicted where the strike would go, stopping the ball from entering his net.
The Atlas Lion’s save boosted his team’s morale, leading Sevilla to control the game’s tempo until they scored their winning goal in the 88th minute.
With his save, Yassine Bounou made headlines in international sport newspapers. Goal, one of the largest football newspapers, qualified the Moroccan player as a “hero” in an article titled “Bounou makes history as Sevilla dump Saiss’ Wolves out of Europa League.”
The Atlas Lion became on Tuesday the first goalkeeper to save a penalty for a Spanish club in the Europa League. He also became the second African to save a penalty in the competition, after Algeria’s Rais M’bolhi in 2010.
Having saved Raul Jimenez’s penalty, #Sevilla‘s Yassine Bounou becomes the second African to save a penalty in the @EuropaLeague since Rais M’bolhi (Algeria) for CSKA Sofia against Porto in December 2010. pic.twitter.com/Wba0O4BFU6
— Shina Oludare ?? (@sportingshina) August 11, 2020
In a press conference after the game, Yassine Bounou expressed his happiness and satisfaction over the win. He explained that previously playing on the same team as Jimenez helped him stop the shot.
“I met Raul Jimenez at Atletico Madrid and I knew how he used to take penalties. He likes to slow down a bit. I was lucky that, at the right moment, I was able to hold on and get to the ball. I’m very happy,” the Moroccan player said.
The Atlas Lion played for Atletico Madrid in 2016. He also played for Spanish clubs Real Zaragoza and Girona. Yassine Bounou, however, began his career in Morocco in 2010, with Casablanca’s Wydad AC.
The 29-year-old is one of the two main goalkeepers of Morocco’s national squad, along with Munir Mohamedi. He represented the Atlas Lions in the 2018 FIFA World Cup and the 2019 African Cup of Nations.
After their win, Sevilla FC paid tribute to Yassine Bounou in a social media post with the caption: “A beautiful day for Bono!”
— Sevilla FC (@SevillaFC_ENG) August 11, 2020
With their win over Wolverhampton, Sevilla are set to face another English team—Manchester United. The semi-final is set to take place on Sunday, August 16, in Cologne, Germany.
The winner will encounter Italy’s Inter Milan or Ukraine’s Shakhtar Donetsk in the Europa League’s final.