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  • Writer's pictureBruno Asoka

Atlas Lions top Group F and book their place in the last 16 with win over Canada

Morocco have progressed to the last 16 at the World Cup for the second time in their history after defeating Canada 2-1 at the football tournament in Qatar.

The Atlas Lions’ only other trip past the group stage was in the 1986 World Cup in Mexico.

Canada's final Group F game got off to the worst possible start, which only served to increase their fury at having already been eliminated from the World Cup. Hakim Ziyech was ready to lob his shot into an empty net to steal an essential lead for the Atlas Lions within of five minutes after Canadian goalkeeper Milan Borjan rushed out of his goal to catch Steven Vitória's underhit backpass.

Just over 15 minutes later, Achraf Hakimi's sweeping pass found Youssef En-Nesyri in stride, and the striker clinically slid the ball home to worsen the situation for the Canadians. In the final five minutes before the break, Sam Adekugbe's cross beat Yassine Bounou's outstretched hand and cut the North Africans' lead in half from what appeared to be an unstoppable advantage. This may have set up a surprising turn of events in the second half.

In the end, they topped Group F on seven points, two ahead of 2018 runners-up Croatia, who also go through in second place with five points.

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