Morocco reach World Cup at Ivory Coast’s expense

Morocco

Morocco will be back at a World Cup finals for the first time since 1998

Morocco qualified for the 2018 World Cup in Russia with a 2-0 victory away to Ivory Coast, who missed out on a fourth consecutive appearance at the finals.

Goals from defenders Nabil Dirar and Medhi Benatia in Abidjan ensured that Morocco would finish as Group C winners.

Morocco needed only a draw in their last group game to finish top of the standings ahead of the Ivorians, who had to win to clinch a place in Russia.

After weathering an early storm, including a potential penalty call, Morocco scored two goals in the space of five minutes.

Dirar opened the scoring off a cross-turned-shot on 25 minutes and Benatia doubled the lead after a corner on the half-hour.

It is another achievement for Morocco’s French coach Herve Renard, who famously won the Africa Cup of Nations with Ivory Coast in 2015.

Morocco, who completed their qualifying campaign with maximum points and no goals conceded, last appeared in a World Cup in 1998 in France.

They topped the group on 12 points, four above the Ivorians. Gabon, who earlier drew 0-0 with Mali in Franceville, finished with seven and bottom-placed Mali five.

Live Text

Match ends, Côte d’Ivoire 0, Morocco 2.

Second Half ends, Côte d’Ivoire 0, Morocco 2.

Max Gradel (Côte d’Ivoire) is shown the yellow card.

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Delay in match Mbark Boussoufa (Morocco) because of an injury.

Substitution, Morocco. Faycal Fajr replaces Younès Belhanda.

Foul by Ghislain Konan (Côte d’Ivoire).

Sofyan Amrabat (Morocco) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by Serge Aurier (Côte d’Ivoire).

Younès Belhanda (Morocco) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Wilfried Zaha (Côte d’Ivoire) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Achraf Bencharki (Morocco).

Max Gradel (Côte d’Ivoire) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Nabil Dirar (Morocco).

Foul by Ghislain Konan (Côte d’Ivoire).

Achraf Bencharki (Morocco) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Attempt saved. Seydou Doumbia (Côte d’Ivoire) header from the centre of the box is saved in the top right corner. Assisted by Serge Aurier.

Corner, Côte d’Ivoire. Conceded by Romain Saiss.

Substitution, Morocco. Sofyan Amrabat replaces Hakim Ziyech.

Hand ball by Serge Aurier (Côte d’Ivoire).

Foul by Wilfried Zaha (Côte d’Ivoire).

Nabil Dirar (Morocco) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Ghislain Konan (Côte d’Ivoire).

Achraf Bencharki (Morocco) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Max Gradel (Côte d’Ivoire) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Hakim Ziyech (Morocco).

Substitution, Côte d’Ivoire. Salomon Kalou replaces Gervinho.

Foul by Max Gradel (Côte d’Ivoire).

Hakim Ziyech (Morocco) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Substitution, Morocco. Achraf Bencharki replaces Khalid Boutaib.

Attempt missed. Wilfried Zaha (Côte d’Ivoire) right footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the right.

Foul by Wilfried Zaha (Côte d’Ivoire).

Nabil Dirar (Morocco) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Jean-Philippe Gbamin (Côte d’Ivoire) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Mbark Boussoufa (Morocco).

Attempt saved. Nordin Amrabat (Morocco) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Khalid Boutaib.

Corner, Côte d’Ivoire. Conceded by Romain Saiss.

Seydou Doumbia (Côte d’Ivoire) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Karim El Ahmadi (Morocco).

Max Gradel (Côte d’Ivoire) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

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