Friday, 17 November, 2017

Morocco book World Cup place for first time in two decades

Peru's Paolo Guerrero celebrates after scoring against Colombia during their 2018 World Cup qualifier football match in Lima BREAKING Tunisia qualify for 2018 World Cup
Clarence Duncan | 13 November, 2017, 01:09

First half goals from Fenerbahçe right-back Nabil Dirar and Juventus centre-back Medhi Benatia helped Morocco beat Ivory Coast 2-0 on Saturday in a highly-temperamental Group C final World Cup qualifier in Abidjan and seal one of Africa's final two slots for next year's World Cup in Russian Federation.

A mouth-watering clash lay in store in Abidjan, where Côte d'Ivoire hosted Morocco, with the victor booking a ticket to Russian Federation 2018.

A pair of quickfire first half goals fired Morocco to their first World Cup in two decades and condemned Ivory Coast to a defeat that means they will miss the showpiece event for the first time since 2002.

But it proved to be enough and, after missing out in 2010 and 2014, Tunisia will be at the World Cup for a fifth time.

Tunisia also only needed a draw to pip DR Congo - who began the day three points adrift - to top spot in Group A and they duly accomplished that with a 0-0 stalemate at home to Libya.

In the 1990 World Cup UAE and Egypt qualified, in the 1994 World Cup Saudi Arabia and Morocco participated and in the 1998 World Cup in Morocco, Saudi Arabia and Tunisia were there.

Nabil Dirar and Medhi Benatia found the net to seal the win.

Tunisia, meanwhile, progressed as winners of Group A despite not being able to end their campaign with victory over Libya, who finished bottom. Tunisia also booked their spot at Russian Federation 2018 with a tense 0-0 draw against Libya.

It was unspectacular, but they got the job done and ultimately progressed with a one-point buffer after a late flurry helped DR Congo beat Guinea 3-1 in the group's other match.

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