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Morocco, Spain scoreless at half in Qatar

Ferran Torres Spain Ferran Torres - The Canadian Press

A well-organized Morocco frustrated Spain to a scoreless opening half in their Round of 16 tie at the FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

Spain enjoyed the lion's share of possession, but found it difficult to do anything with it thanks to determined defending by Morocco.

The early stars of the match were the Morocco fans. Just as they were in the group stage, the Morocco supporters were in full voice, loudly cheering any Morocco movement forward and loudly booing any Spain attacks.

Morocco was content with allowing Spain to control possession as the match progressed with Morocco intending to counter on the wings through Achraf Hakimi and Hakim Ziyech. The tactics were working as Spanish players began to get visibly frustrated at times and appealed to the referee to call what they believed to be fouls with some close marking.

The first true chance of the match came in the 27th, but Marco Asensio's shot found nothing but side netting.

Morocco had their first real chance to open the scoring in the 33rd. Noussair Mazraoui stripped Ferran Torres of possession and then took a hard shot from distance that Unai Simon knocked down and corralled before Youssef En-Nasyri could reach the rebound.

Morocco came on stronger towards the end of the half and probably should have been ahead in the 42nd when Sofiane Boufal's cross found Nayef Aguerd, but the West Ham man headed wide.