Morocco’s Jawad El-Yamiq commented on his incident with Portugal centre-back Pepe during their quarter-final encounter in the World Cup.
The Atlas Lions have had a sensational tournament and became the first African side in history to reach the World Cup semi-finals after eliminating Spain and Portugal.
They also finished top of Group F despite being placed alongside World Cup runner-ups Croatia, world no. 2 Belgium, and a talented Canadian side.
However, Morocco had to settle for fourth place after losing 2-0 to France before suffering a 2-1 defeat to Croatia in the third-place playoff.
During their clash with Portugal, Morocco had a nervy spell in the latter stages of the game and had to sustain immense pressure from their opposition.
Veteran defender Pepe spurned a golden opportunity to score the equaliser late in the game as his header went wide from close range.
Morocco’s Jawad El-Yamiq immediately reacted to Pepe’s miss by kissing the Portuguese on his forehead as a sign of gratitude.
The bizarre moment sparked controversy on social media but El-Yamiq has finally commented on the incident, saying: “I received many messages regarding kissing Pepe’s head.
“As you all saw, this was a clear goal-scoring opportunity for them and when Pepe missed, I kissed his head in astonishment because that was a sitter.”