Soccer-Morocco coach Regragui in dreamland after win over Brazil

Soccer Football - International Friendly - Morocco v Brazil - Grand Stade de Tanger, Tangier, Morocco - March 25, 2023 Brazil's Lucas Paqueta in action with Morocco's Romain Saiss REUTERS/Juan Medina

(Reuters) - Morocco coach Walid Regragui has hailed his team as history makers after they followed up their giant-killing feats of last year's World Cup with their first win over Brazil in a friendly in Tangier on Saturday.

The Atlas Lions became the first Arab team to defeat the five-times world champions, with goals from Sofiane Boufal and substitute Abdelhamid Sabiri earning Morocco a 2-1 victory.

"It feels like I'm dreaming," Regragui told reporters. "We wrote history. We beat Brazil, who are number one in the FIFA rankings and the country of football."

The match, Morocco's first since their stunning run to last year's World Cup semi-finals, was played out in a festive atmosphere at a sold-out Ibn Batouta stadium in front of more than 65,000 fans.

"To make the celebration beautiful, we had to win this match and that's what we did," Morocco centre back Romain Saiss said.

"We were at the level even though it was complicated. The mental state of the team made the difference and made people happy again and that's what is important."

Boufal opened the scoring in the 29th minute before Casemiro equalised for Brazil after an error by goalkeeper Yassine Bounou, but substitute Sabiri scored Morocco's winner with a powerful shot 11 minutes from time.

The result was further proof of the strides Morocco have made under Regragui.

They became the first Arab team to reach the World Cup quarter-finals last year and the first African team to make the semi-finals, beating Belgium, Spain and Portugal on the way.

"All the players fought," Regragui added. "We weren't good in the second half, but I liked our fighting spirit.

"The defence didn't back down and we tried to make our fans happy."

They will head into their next match against Peru in Madrid on Tuesday full of confidence.

"With this high morale, we'll try to beat Peru as well, despite the difficulty and lack of time in the month of Ramadan," Regragui said.

(Additional reporting by Ahmed Mostafa and Mohamed Msiyeh, Editing by Simon Jennings and Ed Osmond)

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