Hakim Ziyech was named Player of the Match as Morocco defeated Belgium 2-0 at the FIFA World Cup today, with Romelu Lukaku returning from injury as a late substitute.

Ziyech thought he had put the Atlas Lions ahead in first-half injury time from a wide free-kick, only for the goal to be disallowed for offside after a VAR check. However, Morocco would go in front in almost identical circumstances, this time Abdelhamid Sabiri’s free-kick catching Thibaut Courtois out.

A bit of Ziyech magic in stoppage time created Morocco’s second goal and secured the win their performance merited. He latched on to a flick and beat Timothy Castagne with a stepover and clever shift of balance before setting up Zakaria Aboukhlal to sweep the ball into the net.

Morocco move to the top of Group F ahead of their final fixture against Canada on Thursday. Belgium, who were fortunate to beat Canada in their first game, will have to improve when they meet Croatia on the same day.

Ziyech started on the right-hand side of Morocco’s front three, and it was down that flank he showed impressive intent inside the first minute, beating Castagne and whipping in a low cross Courtois gathered.

In front of what must surely be one of the biggest travelling supports at this tournament, Ziyech had Morocco’s first attempt of the day on 20 minutes with a fierce left-footer from distance that whistled over Courtois’ bar.

With every touch of theirs being whistled, Belgium enjoyed plenty of possession, but much of it was harmless in front of Morocco’s deep block.

The Atlas Lions however looked a threat in transition and from a free-kick he won, Ziyech thought he had put his country ahead on the stroke of half-time. His vicious inswinging free-kick from the right flank was too hot for Courtois to handle, sparking pandemonium inside the Al Thumama Stadium.

However, on review, Romain Saiss was shown to be a fraction ahead of the last defender and even though he didn’t make contact with the ball, he was deemed to be interfering with Courtois’ eyeline contributing to the keeper’s error.

Ziyech had the first shot of the second half, shifting the ball onto his left foot inside the D and bending a shot into Courtois’ arms.

The contest began to open up with Morocco getting more men forward. From a lovely Ziyech switch shortly before the hour mark, Sofiane Boufal, once of Southampton, dropped a shoulder and curled his strike past Courtois but also the far post.

Morocco took the lead in the 73rd minute and were good value for it against a Belgian team that lacked creativity all game. Abdelhamid Sabiri and Ziyech stook over a free-kick wide and deep on the left flank, and it was the former who whipped it in right-footed, catching Courtois out at his near post. Lightening had struck twice, but this time there was no offside decision to spare the former Chelsea man’s blushes.

Lukaku was named on the bench and came on for the final 10 minutes. Roberto Martinez had said the striker wasn’t expected to make his return from injury until Belgium’s final group game against Croatia on Thursday, but with his side trailing Martinez turned to the Red Devils record goalscorer.

However it was Morocco who got the game’s second goal in the second minute of stoppage time, with Ziyech superbly setting up Aboukhlal six yards out. Morocco’s first win at a World Cup since 1998, and only third ever success on the global stage, was celebrated joyously by the thousands of their fans in the stands and the heroic players and management on the pitch.