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Nouhaila Benzina becomes first player to wear hijab at Women’s World Cup as Morocco secures first win


By Aimee Lewis, CNN

(CNN) — Morocco earned a surprise victory over South Korea on Sunday to secure the country’s first win at a Women’s World Cup in a match where Nouhaila Benzina also made history.

Striker Ibtissam Jraidi scored the only goal of the match in a 1-0 victory as Morocco became the third debutants to win a game at this tournament.

It was a match filled with significant landmarks.

Defender Benzina started for Morocco to become the first player to wear a hijab at a senior-level Women’s World Cup. Benzina, making her first appearance at the tournament, almost capped an impressive performance with a goal, but volleyed over the crossbar.

Jraidi’s sixth-minute header was also Morocco’s first ever goal in the tournament.

“We are just so pleased our efforts have paid off. This victory is for Morocco and Arabs, it’s the fruit of our hard work,” Jraidi told reporters, per Reuters.

Morocco suffered a heavy 6-0 loss to Germany in its opening game, but was much improved in Adelaide.

Ranked 55 places below South Korea in the world rankings, it was a surprise when the debutants took the early lead but Morocco held on for a memorable win. Teenager Casey Phair had a chance to level for South Korea from close range late on but shot wide.

Despite two defeats in two games, South Korea has yet to be eliminated as Germany suffered a shock 2-1 loss to Colombia in Group H’s later match. South Korea will play Germany on August 3 in their final group stage match.

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