In a stunning upset of 10-man Morocco, South Africa advanced to the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations quarter finals where they will face Cape Verde after Achraf Hakimi squandered a late opportunity to equalize from the penalty spot.
In the 57th minute, Makgopa scored the first goal with a deft finish that avoided a protracted Video Assistant Referee (VAR) check for offside. This set up Bafana Bafana for an unexpected win over the 2022 World Cup semi finalists.
When it was determined that Mothobi Mvala had handled Ayoub El Kaabi’s shot, Hakimi had a fantastic opportunity to tie the score, but he missed the crossbar with his 85th-minute penalty kick.
After Sofyan Amrabat of Manchester United was sent off in stoppage time, Teboho Mokoena curled a beautiful free kick past Bono to complete the stunning victory.
The 1996 winners will now look to improve on their 2019 finals quarterfinal exit when they play the undefeated Blue Sharks on Saturday (20:00 GMT) in hopes of making it to the final four.
Morocco, the top-ranked team in Africa, will not be able to snap their long wait for a second continental championship—which dates back to 1976—until they host the 2025 Afcon.
Injuries left Morocco without forwards Hakim Ziyech and Sofiane Boufal, resulting in missed opportunities against a team ranked 53 places below them.
Amine Adli and Selim Amallah missed chances in the first half, while South Africa’s Mvala made crucial interventions. Despite handling early threats, South Africa’s first attempt on target came from Mokoena’s shot, saved by Bono.
Morocco missed a chance to take the lead when Ounahi’s shot went over the bar. Makgopa then capitalized on Morocco’s missed chances to score for South Africa. Despite a VAR check, the goal stood.
With a potential fresh Afcon upset looming, Morocco nearly equalized quickly with a powerful shot from Abde Ezzalzouli, saved by Ronwen Williams, and Ounahi’s follow-up cleared hastily.
Manager Walid Regragui made immediate changes, bringing on Ismael Saibari and Amine Harit, but his team struggled to break down the compact defense of their opponents.
A penalty seemed to offer hope for the Atlas Lions after El Kaabi’s shot hit Mvala’s arm, but Hakimi’s subsequent penalty hit the crossbar. In a frantic finale, Amrabat was sent off for a foul in the box, and Mokoena sealed South Africa’s victory with a beautifully curled shot.
South Africa, managed by Hugo Broos, continues their impressive Afcon campaign, setting up a potential semi-final clash against Nigeria or Angola. They will face a Cape Verde side that scored seven goals in the group stage and defeated Mauritania 1-0 in the round of 16.